Education

Zach Herndon/WTIU

A proposal to separate student test scores from teacher evaluations at the state level is making progress through the legislature, and the state’s largest teachers union says it could draw more young people to the profession. 

Indiana teachers have long pressed for the state to remove requirements that student test scores be used in their evaluations and this year, it seems like lawmakers are on board. A bill to nix the requirement already passed the House – and won unanimous approval. 

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed legislation Wednesday that spends $291 million to pay cash for higher education building projects.

It’s the first bill signed into law this year.

Indiana finished the last budget cycle with nearly $300 million more than it expected. Republicans this session decided to spend that money paying cash for higher ed capital projects they had already approved.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

After proposing more than 100 education bills, lawmakers face a key legislative deadline next week. House lawmakers proposed fewer education-focused bills than the Senate, but only about a dozen made it through to the session’s next half. 

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Legislation reached the governor’s desk for the first time this session. Hands-free driving easily cleared committee. And a controversial coal bill moved forward.

Here’s what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.

Surplus Spending To Governor

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

More districts are hiring law enforcement to increase security in schools and can use state funding to do so, but lawmakers are debating what sort of training officers need before working around students. 

Indiana requires school resource officers (SROs), to have 40 hours of specific training, but director of the Indiana School Resource Officers Association, Chase Lyday, says not every law enforcement officer in schools has had it. 

Study: Michigan In Bottom 5 For Equitable School Funding

Jan 23, 2020
Carlos Osorio/AP Photo/File

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A new study says Michigan is among 16 states where the lowest-poverty school districts receive less state and local funding than the highest-poverty districts do — a 5-percentage points disparity that ranks fifth-worst nationally.

The report from Education Trust-Midwest, a Royal Oak-based advocacy group, is the latest to urge the state to provide K-12 funding based on student need and significantly boost spending on low-income students, English language learners and those with disabilities.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Both chambers of the General Assembly approved legislation Monday to press pause on state school accountability as Hoosiers transition to a new state exam.

State and school officials have called for the “hold harmless” measure since last fall, after results from the new ILEARN test showed a significant drop in student achievement. 

WTIU

Several major pieces of legislation are already on the move as the General Assembly got the 2020 session underway. Here’s what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.

Hold Harmless Legislation

Lawmakers wasted no time as the short session began – both House and Senate education committees almost immediately approved legislation to shield teachers and schools from penalties after a sharp drop in student test scores.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana House Republicans rejected all of Democrats’ attempts Thursday to change how the state will use its extra state surplus money.

The state collected nearly $300 million more last year than expected. Republicans plan to use it to pay cash for higher education building projects that were approved in the last budget.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

 

A group of people is working to set up a Montessori high school in South Bend.

South Bend already has several options for Montessori schools for younger children, including one that’s part of the city’s public district. This new school would be only the fifth Montessori high school in the state. 

South Bend Montessori High School co-founder Eileen Mariani said high schools are rarer in part because the Montessori method is less fleshed out for older kids. She said the approach is not for every student.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana lawmakers are moving quickly with a measure to avoid penalizing schools for a drop in student scores on the state’s new ILEARN test, with both the House and Senate having moved the hold harmless bill through committee just days into this year’s legislative session. 

Indiana Governor Changes Stance On Teacher Pay Action

Jan 7, 2020
Brandon Smith/IPB News

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s governor has opened the door to potentially boosting school funding and teacher pay after weeks of refuting any plans on such action until next year.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb didn’t give any details Monday of what he would propose during his annual State of the State speech next week, while a top legislative Democrat promised his party would push for more school funding in the wake of a November rally that drew several thousand teachers to the Statehouse.

The Republican-dominated Legislature began its 2020 session on Monday.

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

Efforts to keep state funding out of schools that discriminate against staff and students are back at the statehouse. 

Indiana’s first openly gay state senator, J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis), filed the bill for the second year in a row, this time with support from the state’s schools chief.

FILE PHOTO: WFIU/WTIU

The Indiana Department of Education released 2019 federal school ratings Friday, while state letter grades remain on hold. 

Districts and schools received two letter grades last year: one from the feds and one from the state. Now, after officials submitted a change to the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act or ESSA plan last year, schools are getting federal ratings instead. Schools can be rated from “does not meet” to “exceeds” expectations. 

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

The Indiana State Board of Education approved a proposal that will cut state funding from some family and consumer science (FCS) classes starting next school year, after board members held a procedural vote at a special meeting Friday.

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