Indiana To Revise School Performance Measurements

State Superintendent Tony Bennett says the Department of Labor will seek to reform the way schools are graded on their yearly performance.

Updated Oct. 4, 7:04 p.m.

Indiana’s top K-12 education official said the state Department of Education will propose changes to the metrics officials use to give schools their A through F letter grades.

State Superintendent Tony Bennett, speaking in Bloomington at an education forum Tuesday, did not specify in his opening remarks to the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce how the requirements would change.

He acknowledged in his speech that remaking education policy can be uncomfortable work but said he hears a consistent message from teachers and parents as he travels the state.

“What we hear is a lot of agreement, that we want education to get better,” he said. “You know, part of the collateral damage of the education reform discussion is the damage that really says all schools are bad or all teachers are bad, and we all know that neither of those comments are true.”

Bennett said he hopes communication will help him push the most aggressive education policy structure in the nation.

Merit Pay For Teachers

MCCSC Superintendent Judy DeMuth and panelist at the forum said effort and money are often being spent on professional learning communities for teachers. Her question to Bennett is where staff merit pay ranks among his priorities.

“If in fact we have to have a collaborative platform for our teachers to best meet the needs of each student, my fear is that merit pay is at the opposite end of the spectrum,” she said.

DeMuth said she has many great teachers and does not want to lose any of them. Bennett has not had the opportunity to talk with DeMuth about merit pay but he said opportunities such as the forum help bridge that gap.

“Many times going directly to teachers, going directly to community members, that’s the best way to get information and the best way to make policy better,” he said.

Bennett acknowledged that remaking education policy can be uncomfortable work but said parents and teachers tell him they are on board with working to improve education in Indiana.

Richland-Bean Blossom Superintendent Steven Kain also spoke on the panel, along with IU education expert Terry Spradlin.

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