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February 3, 2016
Plan to change teacher pay and pensions passes after emotional debate
House Bill 1004 moves on for consideration in the Senate starting next week.
February 1, 2016
Indiana House moves to require the state to explain how schools receive federal aid
Several education bills passed today, moving to the opposite house for further debate next week.
January 26, 2016
Key legislator's bill now calls for dumping ISTEP in 2017
What sort of statewide test would come next has not yet been determined.
January 18, 2016
The basics of Lewis Ferebee: An IPS superintendent pushing hard for change
In some ways, the he has defied expectations after a career working in traditional school systems.
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.
October 19, 2015
Teacher to legislators: I'd love to stay in the classroom if I could afford it
It’ll be another week before legislators come together to make recommendations on how schools can increase teacher recruitment and retention efforts.
June 8, 2015
Will Common Core return to Indiana through ISTEP?
Senate Bill 566 says the state can use outside test questions as long as they align with Indiana standards.
April 8, 2015
State board's Neal asks lawmakers to block ISTEP bid
Andrea Neal wants legislators to revisit a plan to replace ISTEP as a way to solve a dispute over the selection of a British company to make the test starting next year.
April 7, 2015
House committee saves ISTEP, calls for study of replacement options
A proposal to replace ISTEP with an off-the-shelf national test was derailed today as a House committee sent the idea to a summer committee for…
March 11, 2015
One bill to diminish Ritz's power is dead, but threat remains
One of two bills aimed at removing state Superintendent Glenda Ritz from her role as chairwoman of the Indiana State Board of Education is dead, but she still faces the threat of losing power.
February 25, 2015
ISTEP cheating bill dies but idea could be revived, author says
Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, wants Indiana to look more closely for schools with odd state test results that might suggest cheating, but a bill he…
February 24, 2015
Concerns over teacher evaluation sink bill aimed at Glenda Ritz
Indiana House Republicans today failed to garner the support they needed to pass a bill to give the Indiana State Board of Education more oversight of testing matters.
February 17, 2015
Bill to limit 'charter shopping' passes Indiana House
Concerns about low-scoring charter schools that avoid sanctions by switching to new sponsors are behind a bill that passed the Indiana House today, but it would not block those moves entirely.
February 17, 2015
House moves to shorten ISTEP, broaden state board's testing role
An accelerated bill that would overhaul ISTEP to shorten the test got rolling quickly today, but the Indiana House isn’t stopping there. If all the…
February 3, 2015
Ritz's view: 'Freedom to teach' bill a 'Trojan horse' for charter school concept
Gov. Mike Pence and Republican lawmakers argue that Indiana teachers need more “freedom to teach,” and are pushing a bill that would create special schools, school districts or zones of schools to try new teaching strategies.
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.
January 27, 2015
Lawmakers consider shifting Ritz's power to state board
The Indiana State Board of Education would get specific authority over testing, standards, student data, state takeovers, teacher evaluation and other functions that today are primarily managed by state Superintendent Glenda Ritz under a bill Indiana lawmakers considered today.
January 20, 2015
Overtesting concerns could derail bill's proposal for civics exam (updated)
The question of whether Indiana high school graduates should pass a civics test is running up against an emerging concern that Hoosier children are simply…
July 19, 2014
Arlington High School will stay open, but takeover questions remain
For the now, it seems Arlington High School will be able open its doors this year. But the ongoing troubles raise a critical question: can state takeover of low performing schools successfully be undertaken in Indiana? Or should the practice be abandoned?
May 7, 2014
Behning wins easily despite primary campaign scare
Indiana’s House education committee chairman, who was concerned enough about a primary challenger to begin airing television ads in the campaign’s last week, won…
May 6, 2014
Key legislative education leader fighting for his political survival
A primary challenge to Indiana House Education Committee Chairman Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, has made Behning’s central role in changing education in the state over the past several years a centerpiece of his case against the incumbent. The unexpectedly close race has raised new questions about the political potency of a coalition of voters, spanning both political parties, that is increasingly skeptical of the sorts of reforms Behning is identified with.
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
Teacher evaluation law under scrutiny
To some in Indiana, the high concentration of top educator ratings in the first year of a new evaluation system is perfectly reasonable. But to others, including those who helped overhaul the state's evaluation rules, the high scores are implausible given the performance of the state's schools. Those leaders are scratching their heads — and weighing changes to the law.
April 7, 2014
Teacher ratings vary widely across districts
The distribution of ratings ranged widely across the state, even within districts. Some districts gave nearly all educators the state’s top rating, while others awarded that honor to no one at all.
February 13, 2014
Bill blocking Common Core gets green light for committee hearing
A bill that would void Common Core academic standards in Indiana will get a hearing in House Education Committee next week, which could quickly lead…
February 12, 2014
In rare legislative appearance, Pence touts preschool
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence testified on behalf of a bill for the first time as governor today, making a personal plea for support for his proposed preschool pilot program. His goal: Get reluctant fellow Republicans on the Senate Education Committee to vote yes on House Bill 1004 to create the program. But the bill could still be in trouble. After Pence's remarks, Republican committee members remained skeptical, asking a long list of questions about the cost, practicality and need for state-paid preschool.
February 11, 2014
Cursive writing bill’s fate still in doubt
Will Sen. Jean Leising’s cursive writing bill get a hearing in the Indiana House on the third try? That’s still up in the air, the…
February 11, 2014
Bill to void Common Core standards in limbo
The chairman of the House Education Committee said today he is undecided whether he will hear Senate Bill 91, which is designed to void Common Core standards in Indiana, or Senate Bill 113, requiring schools to teach cursive writing. If Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, does not permit hearings on the bills both would die without a floor vote in the House.
February 10, 2014
The basics of early childhood education in Indiana: A new era begins
Indiana has long been behind most of the rest of the country when it comes to state support for early education. But there are some signs the state could be changing its attitude toward early childhood education. An important change in the political landscape was the strong support of Republican Gov. Mike Pence in late 2013 for a new preschool pilot program.
February 4, 2014
Data security bills fall through but could be resurrected
Two of three bills that would have taken steps to redefine how the state’s education data is managed, accessed, and stored died in the Indiana legislature this week. The authors of House Bill 1320, which would have created a data repository for parents, and Senate Bill 277, designed to protect student information, said they would try to add those concepts to other bills later this month.
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 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 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 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 charter…
January 13, 2014
Lawmakers aim to lift cap on dropout charter schools
Charter schools that aim to help high school dropouts earn diplomas would be back in Indiana’s K-12 school funding formula and a cap on their…
January 9, 2014
Preschool bill passes House Education Committee
The Republican-dominated House Education Committee took the first step today to advance House Bill 1004, creating a preschool pilot program, approving it by a 10-3…
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 25, 2013
Glenda Ritz's reversal of fortune in dealing with Republicans
State Superintendent Glenda Ritz Republican leaders at the statehouse were wary of state Superintendent Glenda Ritz from the moment she defeated Tony Bennett last November to become the only Democrat holding statewide office, and the simmering tension has exploded over the last month. But it wasn't that long ago Ritz was winning accolades for charming some Republican legislative leaders and pledging to work cooperatively on issues where they had common interests. Ritz's ability to get anything done from her own agenda depends on her ability to make common cause with Republicans, who control all other education policy-making bodies — both houses of the legislature, the governor's office and a majority on the Indiana State Board of Education. So the recent fallout makes her job tougher and raises questions about whether she can accomplish any of her policy goals. Over the course of nine months in office, her political scorecard looks better than might be expected. Still, early wins have turned to something of a losing streak of late. The latest battle could be a make-or-break moment for Ritz's term in office, as it comes down to the question of who sets the policy agenda for the education department, going forward. Here's a look back:
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