The Journal Gazette
Sunday, December 15, 2019 1:00 am

FWCS board members wear Red for Ed

BRIAN FRANCISCO and NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

Members of the Fort Wayne Community Schools board continued to support public education Monday – this time through their wardrobe choices.

Nearly every member attended the regular meeting wearing something red, as in Red for Ed.

Last month's Red for Ed Action Day drew thousands of educators from across Indiana, blanketing space inside and outside the Statehouse for one of the largest demonstrations ever held there. Organizers said 20,000 people registered, though it was not clear how many participated.

FWCS was among the districts that closed that day. At least 500 of its teachers joined the throng in Indianapolis.

Steve Corona, the board member who forgot colleague Anne Duff's encouragement to wear red to the meeting, highlighted his oversight. He told viewers at home to leave their TV settings alone; his shirt and sweater were indeed purple.

“I promise that I will wear red at our next public meeting,” Corona said.

Melton earns endorsement

The Indiana chapter of the American Federation of Teachers has endorsed state Sen. Eddie Melton for governor.

The Gary resident is running for the Democratic nomination against tech entrepreneur Josh Owens and Dr. Woody Myers, the former state health commissioner. 

On Red for Ed Action Day at the Statehouse, Melton had numerous conversations with teachers represented by AFT and heard their primary concerns, which included changing Indiana's school accountability structure, removing the externship requirement for teachers and increasing funding for public education.

“I am humbled to receive AFT Indiana's endorsement and promise to keep public education, our deserving students and our dedicated educators among my top priorities should I be elected governor,” Melton said.

GlenEva Dunham, president of AFT Indiana, said the organization chose to endorse Melton because he has always been a supporter of public education.

“He didn't just start doing so when he announced his candidacy for governor,” she said. “He has shown his support of public education during his term as a state senator and he has always stood by us. Eddie Melton is a champion for public education at a time when Indiana's public schools are getting hit hard.”

Lawmaker ratings

As a freshman legislator, Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, was the second-most effective member of Indiana's U.S. House delegation in 2017-18, according to ratings issued last week by the Center for Effective Lawmaking at the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University.

The center scored members of the 115th Congress on 15 metrics related to the importance of their policy proposals and how far those proposals advanced.

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th, had the highest score among the nine Hoosiers in the House, followed by Columbia City resident Banks and Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-2nd. Brooks ranked 35th among 245 Republicans in the House at the time, Banks ranked 117th, and Walorski ranked 125th.

Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., ranked 27th among 54 GOP senators, and former senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana ranked 29th among 48 Democratic senators.

Impeachment rallies (Updated)

Fort Wayne is among more than 400 American cities where progressive groups are planning “Nobody is Above the Law” demonstrations on the eve of the U.S. House impeachment vote.

The sponsoring organizations support the impeachment and removal from office of President Donald Trump. The impeachment vote is expected Wednesday.

The local rally will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Allen County Courthouse Green. 

“Bring your passion plus signs and flags,” instructs an online description of the Fort Wayne event.

Pro-impeachment rallies are planned in at least nine cities across Indiana. Trump won all but four of the state's 92 counties in the 2016 presidential election, although his approval rating among Hoosier voters has been less than 50% in five months this year, according to pollster Morning Consult.

The demonstrations are being organized by a coalition that includes the Center for American Progress, Daily Kos, Greenpeace, Indivisible chapters,, National Organization of Women, Public Citizen, Sierra Club and Women's March.

Ashley Sloboda of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at

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