Gov. Daniels on technology in schools: 'I hope our young people will always be reading'

PLYMOUTH — During a meeting with Pilot News editorial staff Friday morning, Indiana governor Mitch Daniels addressed the rise of technology in public schools, saying that he approves of it as long as students are still reading.
“Nobody really knows what the effects of these technologies will be,” said Daniels. “I think we know the discipline of reading is very important, and always will be. I don’t care how (information) is delivered, but I do hope our young people will always be reading, and reading critically.”
This discussion came from a question from Pilot News correspondent Carol Anders, who pointed out that all students in the Plymouth School Corporation will have computers next year.
Daniels was also asked for his stance on the newly proposed creationism bill. If passed, the bill would give Indiana public schools the option to include the creationism viewpoint as part of science courses. Daniels said he hasn’t taken a close look at the bill yet, but added that he doubts it will be passed.
On the hot debate over the recently passed right-to-work bill, Daniels said that he believes naysayers will realize their concern was a false alarm quickly. The bill will allow employees the freedom to choose whether or not to belong to a union contracted with their employer and also takes away a union’s ability to force all employees to pay union dues. Daniels and other political leaders have expressed concern that businesses considering a presence in Indiana have pulled out because Indiana is not a right-to-work state.
“(The bill) is not a magic answer, but it will be a very big plus,” said Daniels. “Evidence just accumulates and accumulates, year after year, that (right-to-work) is a prerequisite for businesses (considering coming to the state). It will result in more jobs.”
Daniels said that he understands the anxiety of union leaders and their concern about free riders — employees benefitting from union representation without paying dues — but pointed out that if a union is doing a good job, they won’t be hurting for members.
“I bet you union dues don’t go down much at all, if at all,” said Daniels, continuing, “There’s nothing really novel about right-to-work — it’s in 22 states already.”
Daniels also supports a ban on smoking in public places in Indiana, but said that it took him several years to reach that point.
“At first I thought, we don’t need that law,” explained Daniels, continuing that he had believed that those bothered by secondhand smoke could simply patronize another restaurant or bar.
He later realized that a smoking ban would be helpful for workers who may not have the option to get a smoke-free job.
“I think we are likely to get it,” said Daniels of the smoking ban.
Daniels stopped in at the Pilot News building to discuss some of his goals in his last year as governor. He said he’s not sure of his future plans, but added that he believes strongly in working hard until his very last day.