Rep. Todd Huston (R-Fishers) will lead his colleagues as Speaker of the House after 2020, but some public education advocates are wary of his ties to a controversial education figure in Indiana.
The name Tony Bennett brings on a passionate response from public school teachers. He’s a former state superintendent of public instruction, known for his work on education reforms many Hoosier schools are still grappling with today.
According to the former president of the state’s largest teachers union, Teresa Meredith, he championed many changes that frustrated educators.
“It was very difficult, it didn’t involve stakeholder input, it was just a horrible horrible time,” Meredith says.
And that’s why some are worried about Huston taking on a more powerful role in the Statehouse. Huston was Tony Bennett’s chief of staff for a time, and was twice appointed by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels to serve on education policy-making committees.
Huston won’t take over the speaker position until the 2021 session, and in that role will have the power to decide how bills make their way through the House’s lawmaking process. There’s a lot on the line that year too for educators; leaders have said that’s going to be the year they take major action on measures to boost teachers’ pay.