A bill to create a new career and technical diploma won unanimous support in the Indiana House yesterday, despite concerns from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce that the state does not need a fifth diploma type. Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Mount Vernon, argued that the state’s primary diploma, known as the Core 40, has discouraged students from participating in career and technical programs and caused schools to offer fewer of those options.
A bill in the Indiana legislature could allow schools being run by outside groups under state takeover to return to the school districts they came from. But a provision that already has raised concerns would also allow the Indiana State Board of Education to turn those schools into charter schools, forever severing them from the districts.
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.
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.
A bill that would dump Common Core standards in Indiana has passed a legislative committee and is headed to the Senate floor for a vote later this week. Senate Bill 91's passage means the state will no longer follow Common Core standards as of July 1, author Scott Schneider said, ending months of sometimes intense debate.
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.
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.