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Democratic Candidate Says ISTEP+ Gains Not Enough

The Democratic candidate for state superintendent says the scores seen on the ISTEP+ test are not improving fast enough.

Glenda Ritz

Photo: ISTA

Glenda Ritz speaks with the media on the day she declared her candidacy for state superintendent.

A higher percentage of Hoosier students – 71 percent – passed the ISTEP+ exam this year than ever before. But growth in passing rates slowed compared to previous years, and the Democratic candidate for state superintendent says she is concerned about how students are being taught.

Glenda Ritz, the Democratic candidate running against Superintendent Tony Bennett, says it is good that test scores improved, but she does not feel the gains were enough.

The Carmel schoolteacher says if education funding had not been cut so dramatically in recent years, educational growth might have been even better. She says she is worried that the slowdown in growth is also because Bennett’s policies force educators to teach to the test.

“He had less than a one percent growth this last year and I attribute that, in the classroom, teachers have less time for instruction because we are spending more of our time on assessments,” she says.

Ritz says continuing to raise the stakes on the ISTEP+ detracts from the value of the education Hoosier students receive. But Bennett says his accountability measures are working and that quality teachers are one of the most important ingredients for student learning.

“Good teaching teaches students to high expectations and Indiana standards,” he says. “And if that is done well, and students master that, the test validates that.”

Ritz says she would like to see more of an emphasis on the importance of reading across all subjects – and not through high-stakes assessments.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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  • http://ahuntingtonteacher.blogspot.com/ Ahuntingtonteacher

    Bennett wants everyone to believe that standardized testing can measure authentic learning.  It cannot.What it can do though (along with the Federally intrusive, Unconstitutional, Common Core standards Bennett has sold us out on) is create a market so our children’s education can become a commodity for huge corporations.  Follow the money trail. Bennett’s campaigned is sponsored by hedge fund managers on Wall Street and for-profit privateers seeking to turn our children’s education into a commodity from which they can profit. This election boils down to this: Do Hoosiers believe in the availability of public education for all our children, a public education that can still be “the Great Equalizer”? If so, vote for Ritz who will push for adequate funding. If not, vote for Bennett and he’ll continue to dismantle public education for the sake of the corporate profit.Read more at http://ahuntingtonteacher.blogspot.com/2012/07/istep-scores-released-winners-and.html http://campaignfinance.in.gov/PublicSite/Filings/Schedules/ViewContributionSchedule.aspx?FilingID=42282http://inschoolmatters.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/one-side-fundraising-in-the-campaign-for-indiana-schools-chief/#more-3662

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