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Indiana State Teachers Association
July 27, 2016
Teachers brave heat to vent anger over ALEC’s influence on Indiana education laws
Most of their complaints focused on the state’s private school tuition voucher program.
February 25, 2016
Teacher pay and pension changes, opposed by unions, are dead for now
The Senate announced it wouldn't move forward with House Bill 1004, but another Senate bill with almost identical language has a hearing scheduled Monday.
February 10, 2016
Unions: Teacher mentoring bill leaves too many out
The bill also wouldn't let unions negotiate extra pay that comes with the new programs.
February 9, 2016
Ritz: Indiana shouldn't expand its voucher program
About 33,000 students in the state currently receive them.
January 28, 2016
Union backers say bill could wreck Indiana's teacher pay system
The bill would let superintendents give more pay to current teachers as well as job applicants.
January 27, 2016
A challenger for Glenda Ritz could emerge this week
Yorktown Superintendent Jennifer McCormick plans an announcement about the superintendent race Thursday.
January 25, 2016
Bill to loosen union control of teacher pay moves ahead
Democrats on the House Education Committee and ISTA officials opposed the bill.
January 14, 2016
Bill doesn't shield all schools equally from A-F grade consequences
Schools earning their sixth F in 2015 could face serious state penalties, including state takeover.
January 6, 2016
Republican senator's call for a 2-year delay of ISTEP sanctions goes nowhere
A bipartisan plan for a one-year reprieve from ISTEP consequences sailed through two legislative committees today.
What's your education story?
December 18, 2015
From the start she was inspired to be a teacher and then to fight for their rights
The Shelby County native taught kindergarten in Shelbyville schools before moving to ISTA headquarters in Indianapolis to lead the union full time.
November 4, 2015
Questions remain about Mayor-elect Joe Hogsett's education plans
The question about Mayor-elect Joe Hogsett, who cruised to an easy defeat of Chuck Brewer, is pretty simple: what kind of Democrat will he be?
August 31, 2015
Teacher pay is a big issue beyond IPS, education leaders say
Two panels of educators that met last week hosted by The Mind Trust and the West Side Chamber of Commerce discussed teacher pay last week.
August 28, 2015
Why people think there’s a teacher shortage in Indiana and why they’re probably wrong
In Indiana, as in many other places, the problem isn’t the number of certified teachers but a mismatch between them and available jobs.
August 7, 2015
Glenda Ritz drops out of governor's race
State Superintendent Glenda Ritz announced today she is no longer running for governor, saying she needed to focus instead on her work in education.
June 10, 2015
Report urges more expansion for tax credit scholarship program
The number of tax credit scholarships supporting student tuition at private schools has jumped dramatically from 559 students in 2010 to 11,067 in 2014.
May 20, 2015
Teachers value National Board certification, but Indiana lawmakers don't
Indiana is far behind the rest of the country for the number of National Board certified teachers, frustrating those who believe it can help teachers reach new heights.
February 4, 2015
Senate committee drops required elections from teacher union bill (updated)
(CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Senate Bill 538 would have required every school district in the state to reaffirm…
February 2, 2015
These 9 education changes could move ahead in the legislature — but 6 others probably won't
There's no question a huge battle will take place over the role of state Superintendent Glenda Ritz on the Indiana State Board of Education. But of the 122 education-focused bills the Indiana General Assembly is expected to consider, just a fraction will make it through to Gov. Mike Pence's desk in April to become law.
October 20, 2014
Glenda Ritz calls Pence's preschool decision "bad for children"
The state’s move to pass on the grant brought a flood of opinion over the weekend about why Pence made the move and whether it was the right decision.
August 25, 2014
Outside groups gear up for 'pivotal' IPS school board race
The stakes are high for a board that, since 2012, has leaned more in favor of reform ideas like giving schools more autonomy and forging partnerships with charter schools. Two of the more stringent skeptics on the board — Michael Brown and Samantha Adair-White — face opponents who are more in line with the board's majority on those issues.
August 22, 2014
After cheating scandal, Flanner House families look ahead
Amix of anger, disappointment and disbelief was widely shared Thursday among those connected to Flanner House School, the community center that shares its name and the wider education community in Indianapolis after a cheating scandal forced the school to close.
July 8, 2014
Ritz blames Pence, CECI for "undermining" her leadership
State Superintendent Glenda Ritz today ripped Gov. Mike Pence’s Center for Education and Career Innovation, saying it is “determined to undermine our work” at the Indiana Department of Education, and charged that the State Board of Education’s proposed actions Wednesday could threaten Indiana’s standing with federal education officials.
June 13, 2014
California ruling prompts reflection about Indiana's teacher protections
A ruling against teacher tenure in a Los Angeles lawsuit earlier this week has local advocates considering their own challenges to teachers' jobs protections.
April 10, 2014
No IPS-charter compacts next year
Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Lewis Ferebee told school board members Wednesday he has no plans to exercise new powers granted to the district last month by the Indiana legislature to make deals with charter school operators to run district schools. Gov. Mike Pence signed House Bill 1321 last month. It gives IPS the authority to hand empty buildings over for charter schools to use, or to hire charter school operators to run an IPS school. Ferebee has said all along he was not exclusively interested in deals with charter schools.
April 8, 2014
Ritz, union weigh in on teacher evaluation data
After nearly all Indiana educators who received evaluation ratings were deemed effective Monday, there was a spectrum of reaction. Some called the notion that only 0.4 percent of the state's 50,000 teachers are ineffective impossible. Others say it only confirms what many teachers believe, but some pushing for educational change have doubted: that most teachers are doing a great job. Here are some of the reactions from key players in the state's education debate.
April 7, 2014
New evaluation system gives few Indiana teachers low grades
Nearly all rated educators were classified in the top two categories as effective or highly effective: a whopping 97 percent. That’s not exactly what state had in mind, leaving some leaders scratching their heads.
April 7, 2014
Principals under scrutiny for high teacher ratings
The school officials charged with evaluating educators — principals — are under scrutiny after they gave out very few low scores last year. Across the state, less than one half of 1 percent of educators were rated ineffective last year under a new evaluation system designed to tell teachers apart, while 97 percent received effective or highly effective ratings.
January 31, 2014
Bill promoting IPS partnerships with charters passes House
Indianapolis Public Schools would still get to special rules allowing it to partner with charter schools under a bill that passed the Indiana House today. The bill no longer blocks collective bargaining for employees at those schools, a flashpoint for its critics last week. Unions, however, remain opposed.
January 30, 2014
Voucher schools don't get off the hook from ISTEP
A plan to allow private schools that accept students using tax-funded vouchers for tuition to skip ISTEP testing was dropped from a Senate bill today. But the ISTEP proposal was at the center of the controversy over the bill. It would have allowed voucher schools to use any nationally-normed test for state A to F accountability purposes, not just ISTEP.
January 29, 2014
Senate bill aims to kill Common Core in Indiana
Lawmakers could move to dump Common Core as Indiana’s official state standards under a bill the Senate Education Committee will consider Wednesday. A provision in Senate Bill 91, written by Sen. Scott Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, is focused squarely at killing Common Core in Indiana.
January 29, 2014
Bill to collect education data passes with Democratic support
A bill that collects education data under a new state agency — an idea state Superintendent Glenda Ritz's supporters initially viewed as a power grab — passed the House 89-6 today. House Bill 1003, authored by Rep. Steve Braun, R-Zionsville, aims to bring together data from K-12 schools, colleges, the state’s workforce development arm and business leaders with the goal of spotting trends and helping schools adapt to employer needs.
January 27, 2014
Data security efforts raise concerns from Ritz allies
Quietly, three major education data bills are likely to make it though the House or Senate this week and should return in the second half of the legislative session starting next week. The proposals have unnerved teachers unions and testing critics, who fear the new processes they create could paradoxically result in new security concerns or even be used to undermine Ritz, the only Democrat holding a statewide office.
January 27, 2014
New rules helping more Indiana children use vouchers
Changes to Indiana’s voucher program that lawmakers made in 2013 helped fuel it’s dramatic growth and allow somewhat more wealthy families to access tax dollars to pay private school tuition. The Indiana Department of Education's data, released today, show 19,809 students are using vouchers this school year, more than double last year's total of 9,324. The first-year number was 3,919. Indiana's voucher program is the fastest growing in U.S. history and the nation’s second largest.
January 23, 2014
Ferebee is grilled over IPS support of charter school bill
Indianapolis Public Schools’ new superintendent found himself on the defensive this morning, explaining to skeptical Democrats and union leaders his support for a bill allowing…
January 23, 2014
The basics of Tony Bennett: A reform star’s rise and fall
After pushing hard for educational change, Bennett faced a backlash.
January 22, 2014
Supporting two charter school bills, IPS signals a new direction (updated)
After years of antagonism, Indianapolis Public Schools is trying out a new approach to charter schools: cooperation. The district, led by new…
December 18, 2013
Move to limit Ritz's meeting powers expected on Friday
State Superintendent Glenda Ritz If you're thinking of going to Friday's Indiana State Board of Education meeting, here's a bit of advice: pack a lunch. The meeting agenda, posted Tuesday, starts off new business with an item that appears likely to include a controversial proposal to curb state Superintendent Glenda Ritz's control over the state board meetings. State board member Brad Oliver tweeted Tuesday that agenda item would be based on input the board received in a Dec. 4 meeting: https://twitter.com/drbradoliver/status/413098187277090817 That input mostly went against Ritz, who chairs the board, and seemed to embolden her adversaries on the state board, whose questions focused on whether they could wrest control of the agenda from Ritz
December 3, 2013
ISTA, Indiana settle lawsuit for $14 million
Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson announces the ISTA settlement. (Scott Elliott) A four-year legal and financial struggle that has saddled Indiana's largest teachers union may be coming to an end, but not without a heavy cost. Secretary of State Connie Lawson announced today a $14 million settlement has been finalized between the state and the Indiana State Teachers Association. The deal settles the state's lawsuit charging ISTA defrauded its members by mishandling funds in an insurance fund. The union admitted no guilt as part of the deal. The state originally sued for $27 million, but settled for roughly 50 cents on the dollar. Lawson said the suit cost the state $1.5 million in public dollars and the settlement came because: "We knew they were willing to spare no expense on endless litigation."
November 11, 2013
The story behind the new complaint against the State Board of Education
Ed Eiler (Purdue University photo) The fight over 10 Republican state board of education members' decision to go over the head of Superintendent Glenda Ritz with a letter to lawmakers about school grades is not over yet. On Friday, Judge Louis Rosenberg did dismiss Ritz's lawsuit objecting to the members' letter. But now a complaint from four private citizens is repeating Ritz's claims — and their effort could force attention to a question that Rosenberg left unaddressed: whether or not the state board broke the law with its letter. When StateImpact Indiana first reported the complaint, its origins were somewhat mysterious. Today, the genesis of the complaint is still not completely clear. One participant, Ed Eiler, said he was recruited to join the action. Indianapolis labor lawyer William Groth, who provided legal advice, said he did not recruit anyone. Groth said he was contacted by an intermediary who he declined to name, citing attorney-client confidentiality. Both Groth and Eiler said the action was not sponsored or encouraged by Ritz or the Indiana State Teachers Association. Groth said he has not met Ritz nor represented ISTA in the past. He said he believes he was consulted because of his expertise in the Open Door Law, which the complaint says the board violated. In an interview, Eiler said some light on who the group is and what it hopes to achieve.
November 7, 2013
Indiana's big test score gains prompt debate over cause
Indiana fourth graders made big gains on a national test, which released scores today. Indiana fourth graders made big gains on a national test of reading and math known as the "nation's report card," according to data released today. Indiana's 2013 gains were top five among the 50 states on both fourth grade reading and math. Eighth graders posted smaller gains in both reading and math. Hoosier test takers scored above the national average on all four exams administered. "“I am encouraged by the gains that Hoosier students showed on these tests, particularly their gains in the fourth grade," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said in a statement. "This is yet another sign of the hard work and dedication exhibited by our educators, administrators, parents, and most importantly, students every day in our schools.” The state's success instantly renewed debate about reforms pushed by former Gov. Mitch Daniels and ex-state Superintendent Tony Bennett over four years beginning in 2008. Bennett was defeated in the 2012 election in a stunning upset by current state Superintendent Glenda Ritz. Eric A. Hanushek, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, said Bennett's fight for reform may have cost him his job but it appears to have yielded improvements. "I think we're starting to see results," said Eric A. Hanushek, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. "These battles are hard-fought, and if we didn't see any results, then we might wonder if it's worth it." Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association, attributed the gains to standards reform in the early 2000s, specifically rejecting Bennett and Daniels' policies as a reason for the improvement.
October 23, 2013
The basics of vouchers in Indiana: They’re exploding
Indiana's program has quickly become the nation's fastest growing.
October 22, 2013
Ritz suit alleges state board broke open meetings law
Glenda Ritz fired back at her political foes on the Indiana State Board of Education Tuesday with a lawsuit charging that its other members broke state law by going around her to ask the legislature to intervene on A to F grades. Ritz, who by law chairs the state board, said a letter written by the 10 other board members to Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tempore David Long violated state transparency laws. The letter asked the legislators to take over the state's annual school-grade calculation process, which has been delayed under Ritz. "No public notice was issued for a meeting that allows this action," a statement from her office said. "Superintendent Ritz was not made aware of this action until after it was taken, despite her role as chair of the State Board of Education." Ritz argued that she had a responsibility to take action. “When I was sworn in to office, I took an oath to uphold the laws of the State of Indiana,” Ritz said. “I take this oath very seriously and I was dismayed to learn that other members of the State Board have not complied with the requirements of the law. While I respect the commitment and expertise of members of the board individually, I feel they have over-stepped their bounds."
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