Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Northeastern Public Schools Compete For Enrollment

For the smaller southern district, recruiting students is necessary.

Northern Wells Community Schools Superintendent Scott Mills said he is not sure all the competition between the state’s school districts is a good thing.

And in the few years since students have been allowed to transfer to districts outside of their own, Mills sees tension growing between neighboring districts.

Indiana’s Department of Education released enrollment numbers last week showing competition for students between districts is heating up. Fort Wayne Community Schools spokeswoman Krista Stockman said some of what the data showed was expected. “We were not surprised that they are going to East Allen,” Stockman said.

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South Bend Schools Showcase School Choice Within District

Sue Coney is Director of Communications for South Bend Schools. She said it’s been 15 years since school boundaries changed in the district and they want to parents to be aware of their options.

“We want to make sure that families understand that right within South Bend schools if you want a different specialized school, or you want to attend a small school or an academy or a very parent involved school, that you have those choices,” Coney said, “You can stay right here in South Bend public schools and find something that fits for your child.”

South Bend Schools held an informational meeting Tuesday to help parents and students navigate new school assignments and graduation pathways following the approval of the Focus 2018 redistricting plan in December. In what resembled a college fair, parents and students visited with representatives from each of the district schools to learn more about programs available to elementary and middle school students in South Bend.

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Lawmakers Consider Foster Care Student Outcomes Legislation

A group called The Villages of Indiana specializes in family and child services, including foster care and adoption.  (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

A group called The Villages of Indiana specializes in family and child services, including foster care and adoption. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

A House committee has approved legislation to track foster children and their success in schools.

The bill would require the Indiana Department of Education and the Department of Child Services to gather data on foster care students in public schools – specifically, the graduation rates and enrollment data for those students.

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Indiana’s ESSA Plan Approved By U.S. Department Of Education


(Eric Weddle/WFYI Public Media)

(Eric Weddle/WFYI Public Media)

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos approved Indiana’s plan to adhere to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act Friday.

Indiana’s 168-page plan details how state officials will comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the No Child Left Behind law in 2015.

As part of the guiding policy, Indiana schools Superintendent Jennifer McCormick pledged to close the student achievement gap in English and mathematics for special education students, students of color and other unique populations by 50 percent by 2023.

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Could A New Bill Limit Student Access To Evidence-Based Sex Ed?

Advance America Founder Eric Miller said the bill is necessary to address a “loophole” in current legislation that allows parental access to instructional materials, but does not specify sexuality health instruction. Miller said this should be explicit.

The new bill would also require every parent to sign and return a permission slip before their child is allowed to take sex ed. “That way the parents, everybody, has buy in. Then everybody wins,” Miller said.

A potential law before the Indiana Senate would require written parental consent for sexual education in schools. Critics say the bill would limit student access to evidence-based programming. Only proponents of the bill – a stream of parents, former educators and an executive of the conservative political advocacy group Advance America – showed up to address the Committee on Education and Career Development Wednesday.

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Committee Hears Testimony On School Financial Management Bill

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

A House committee heard testimony on a bill Wednesday that would help the state identify schools facing financial problems, but the bill has already been met with criticism. Both Gary and Muncie Schools were taken over by the state last year after their finances reached crisis levels.

Some key pieces of House Ways and Means Committee Chair Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville)’s legislation have superintendents and teachers concerned. In addition to creating ways for the state to check in on and offer help to schools flagged for financial problems, it would also provide ways for the District Unit Appeals Board (DUAB) to strip some school officials of their power.

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Legislators Consider Giving Ball State University Control Of Muncie Community Schools

“I think this is far superior to a state takeover along the lines of an emergency manager. This is a community solution to a community challenge.”

Ball State University President Geoffrey Mearns supports an amendment to a House-written bill that would give the university the responsibility for Muncie Community Schools and its multi-million dollar deficit.

“If through community engagement and innovative programming, high quality academic program, and extensive support wrap-around services, we can persuade the parents in Muncie and the Muncie area that their best option for public education is to come back to Muncie public schools, that will help to address the financial challenges that the school presently faces.”

UPDATED: An amendment to a bill being considered by Indiana lawmakers could let Ball State University take control of Muncie Community Schools instead of a state-appointed emergency manager. But, as IPR’s Tony Sandleben reports, details of the idea are still emerging, because it wasn’t shared with

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Report Details How Many Student Transfer Out Of Home School Corp.

Gary Community Schools data taken from the Public Corporation Transfer Report (Credit: Indiana Department of Education)

Gary Community Schools data taken from the Public Corporation Transfer Report (Credit: Indiana Department of Education)

A new state report shows the number of students who transfer in or out of the school corporation boundary they reside in to attend other districts, charter schools or private schools.

The Public Corporation Transfer Report was created by a 2017 state law. The intent is to offer a better understanding of the mobility of students living within a school corporation’s boundary, according to the Indiana Department of Education who compiled and released it.

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Lawmakers Cautious Of 529 College Saving Plans Paying K-12 Tuition

The website of the Indiana Education Savings Authority. (Credit: State of Indiana)

The website of the Indiana Education Savings Authority. (Credit: State of Indiana)

Indiana lawmakers want to study the impact of 529 College Savings Plans on state revenue after a just enacted federal tax change allows the accounts to be spent on tuition at private elementary and high schools.

Legislation in the General Assembly that would have replaced the annual cap on income tax credits for donations to college savings plans with a lifetime limit is being amended to instead shift the issue to a summer study committee.

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