Education

Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) says some Hoosier taxpayers would have seen tax increases without legislation approved during the special session. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Lawmakers approved two substantial tax measures during Monday’s one-day special session.

Many of the provisions sought to conform state tax laws with major policy changes made by the recent federal tax reform bill – which Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) says is part of what made a special session necessary.

(Pixabay)
Lauren Chapman

The State Board of Education plans to take a closer look at virtual charter schools. Members approved a new committee at their meeting Wednesday to review and make policy recommendations around virtual schools.

The U.S. Department of Education denied Indiana’s request to count thousands of the state’s basic high school diplomas known as general diplomas.

A new federal education law, Every Student Succeeds Act, requires states to report graduation rates uniformly. The rule change means Indiana’s least rigorous diploma of the four offered, the general diploma, no longer counts in graduation rates.

Indiana’s most recent federally reported graduation rate is 87 percent.

The first wave of 2018 school funding referenda are up for consideration in about two weeks. That means voters in several counties will have the power to approve or deny tax measures to make millions of dollars available for their local schools.

Purdue University economics professor Larry DeBoer says school funding referenda are usually more likely to pass in May, and the overall number of those winning voter approval has grown in recent years.

State Awards STEM Grants For Elementary Schools

Apr 23, 2018

The state is giving money to nearly a dozen school corporations to help them offer more science, technology, engineering and math – or STEM – education.

Lawmakers approved $1 million in 2017 for the State Department of Education to offer the grants. The department’s Chief of Workforce and STEM Alliances, Amanda McCammon, says the goal is to help schools begin, or build up existing STEM education in kindergarten through sixth grade.

“Schools are utilizing them for professional development for teachers, and then they’re also utilizing it for purchasing curriculum,” she says.

The Indiana Public Access Counselor says Carmel Clay Schools should have explained why it placed its superintendent and another senior staffer on a three-month paid-leave last year that ended in their resignations.

Carmel Superintendent Nicholas Wahl and Human Resources Director Corrine Middleton were placed on paid administrative leave by the school board in October for alleged management issues.

A major argument in favor of charter schools is improved student achievement, but a recent study out of Indiana University, says transfer students have smaller academic gains in the first two years at a new charter school, compared to unmoved, public school peers.

IU education professor Hardy Murphy co-authored the study.

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Emilie Syberg / WBAA

Gia Bradford has some words of hard-earned advice she’d give her freshman year self, if she could.

“I would take the SATs earlier,” says Bradford.

Bradford is a senior at West Lafayette High School. She and her fellow seniors are in the last months of their high school careers, so they’re starting to relax a little. But the past four years haven’t been worry-free.

Indiana Eighth Graders Show Improved Reading Scores

Apr 10, 2018

The so-called “nation’s report card” came out Tuesday to highlight math and reading scores for fourth and eighth graders throughout the country. Indiana’s 2017 averages remained similar to those from 2015, but it was one of the 10 states to show significant improvements in average eighth grade reading scores.

High School Focus In Workforce Development Efforts

Apr 5, 2018
2018 workforce development legislation focused in part on improving career counseling in high school. (WFIU/WTIU)
Brandon Smith

State leaders are focused on ensuring Indiana has a workforce capable of meeting the state’s job needs for the next few decades. And that conversation increasingly turns to the state’s public schools, tying high school education to workforce development.

When asked whether it’s too much to ask a 14-year-old to decide what they want to do with the rest of their life, Gov. Eric Holcomb is direct.

The Indiana State Board of Education during a 2017 meeting in Indianapolis. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)
Eric Weddle

 

 

The state released its first evaluation of charter schools this week. It details the academic outcomes and enrollment at Indiana’s 93 charter schools.

(i a walsh/Flickr)
Lauren Chapman

More than a dozen Indiana schools are working to implement dual language programs. The state is helping them with funding, but some schools say what they need from the state now is more information on how to structure the programs.

(WFIU/WTIU)
Lauren Chapman

How to fix a statewide teacher shortage is still a big question for many schools, but an Indianapolis-based group has announced a new effort to recruit more qualified teachers, in a city with high turnover rates.

Dr. Byron Ernest is the secretary of the Indiana State Board of Education. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)
Jeanie Lindsay

Changes to education in Indiana are coming over the next two years with new standardized tests and federal education law, but members of the State Board of Education plan to postpone another shift around school accountability.

The 2018 legislative session ended a bit more chaotically than expected, but lawmakers managed to work on and pass a variety of education legislation this year. But, some bills didn’t find the same levels of success as others. Here’s a recap of some legislation lawmakers proposed, passed, and denied around education policy. 

The bills that failed 

School Financial Management/Gary-Muncie Takeover Bill: HB 1315

General Assembly Approves Single Diploma Bill

Mar 14, 2018
(Alisha Referda/Flickr)
Lauren Chapman

The General Assembly passed legislation to create a single high school diploma structure in Indiana.

It still allows for students to add distinctions for academic or technical honors to their diplomas.

School Funding Measure Nears Finish Line

Mar 7, 2018

As lawmakers close in on the end of the legislative session, they’re working to finalize a bill that would address the state’s school funding gap. The school funding shortfall for this fiscal year is estimated at more than $22 million.

The bill to address that shortfall would make up to $25 million from the state’s reserve funds available to bridge the gap.

Senate Approves School Financial Management Bill

Mar 6, 2018

Lawmakers in the Senate approved a controversial school financial management bill Tuesday.

Parts of the bill would heavily impact the function and oversight of Muncie and Gary schools and have stirred heated debate in recent weeks.

The state’s top education official plans to push for more policy and funding to improve school safety.

State officials and lawmakers say Indiana has strong school safety programs in place, but Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick says there are still gaps.

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Barbara Anguiano / WVPE

 

The Indiana State Board of Education hosted a hearing Thursday seeking public comment on proposed revisions to school accountability grades.

 

The majority of those present at the hearing were school teachers and administrators.
 

They raised concerns about the timeline for the changes, and how they could affect their students standardized tests and graduation pathways.
 

Bill Aims To Improve DCS Communication With Schools

Feb 22, 2018

A bill passed through committee this week that aims to improve communications between schools, courts and the Department of Child Services.

The first part of the bill would require DCS to outline efforts to coordinate with a foster child’s school system. Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington) authored the bill and says a case from his county highlights the problem.

“This child was 7-years-old and weighed 20 pounds and the only communication they had with the school was, here is the child,” says Zay.

Lawmakers are giving mixed input on a bill about teacher licensing waivers, and members of a House committee shared concerns about the proposal during a meeting Thursday.

The Indiana State Board of Education will host a public forum Thursday at Ivy Tech Community College in South Bend - seeking public input on proposed revisions to school accountability grades.

 

This is one of four public forums throughout the state that gives Indiana residents the opportunity to weigh-in on proposed changes to school accountability grades.
 

Proposed changes include a higher significance on student standardized test performance and school graduation rates.
 

Lawmakers Weigh New School Coalition Pilot Program

Feb 19, 2018

School coalitions could become a new feature of the state’s education system, as lawmakers consider another pilot program to better prepare students for life after high school.

Gary Emergency Manager Plan: Close High School, Reconfigure Grade Levels

Feb 16, 2018

Senate Education Committee Delays School Finance Bill Vote

Feb 15, 2018

House Committee Hears Testimony On Sex Education Bill

Feb 15, 2018

The House Education Committee heard testimony Thursday on a bill that would require schools to make sex education instructional materials available to parents and require parents to opt-in to instruction.

Researcher Pushes Back on Cursive Writing Op-Ed From Senator

Feb 8, 2018

An Indiana University researcher says the lawmaker behind a cursive writing bill approved by the Senate misused her work to support the cause.

Efforts For Lower School Age Fail In 2018 Session

Feb 8, 2018

Legislation to lower the age at which Hoosier children must attend school failed in the General Assembly again this year, but the conversation isn’t likely to end any time soon.

A for-profit nursing school’s central Indiana campus is trying to get more students interested in the field, which faces a shortage of qualified practitioners.

A few dozen students from Indianapolis’ Warren Central High School took part in Chamberlain University College of Nursing’s simulation lab, including disaster response.

Junior Stephan Gaither says he has family members pursing healthcare related jobs.

“They kind of inspired me to go into the medical field and be an EMT or something,” says Gaither.

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