The basics of everything: Your guide to education issues in Indiana

Few states can match the Hoosier state for the wide variety of efforts to change the way students learn, or for the level of drama and discord that has accompanied those efforts.

When it comes to education, Indiana has been in the national spotlight for more than half a decade. It’s nationally known for its efforts to spur innovation, for its large and growing private school voucher program and more.

It’s also renowned for bracing education debates. In 2011, an epic battle in the statehouse ended with a big expansion of school choice programs, new limits on teacher union bargaining and a complete overhaul of teacher evaluation. Indiana was one of the first states to adopt Common Core standards and the first state to later void that decision in favor of again creating its own standards.

In Indiana, education issues are often accompanied by hardball politics. Former state Superintendent Tony Bennett became a national education reform darling from 2008 to 2012 before he was stunningly defeated by Glenda Ritz. Ritz and Gov. Mike Pence have since conducted a war of attrition over education that has resulted in the creation and destruction of a new state agency and a battle for control of the Indiana State Board of Education. The state’s biggest district, Indianapolis Public Schools, has also seen its share of politics as it struggled to improve.

At Chalkbeat, we’re tracking all these issues, and we know when they become part of the public debate our readers sometimes need a refresher on what happened in the past. To assist, we’ve written 20 stories since 2013 designed to provide the “basics” of critical issues facing the state. This month, we’ve updated all of them with the latest news.

To find them, follow these links:

We will add to this list as new issues arise.