Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

School Vouchers Get A New Report Card

(photo credit: Shout for NPR)

(photo credit: Shout for NPR)

It is the education debate of the Trump era. With the president and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos using policy and the bully pulpit to champion private school vouchers, supporters and critics have tangled over the question:

Do low-income, public school students perform better when they’re given a voucher to attend a private school?

For years, the answer from researchers has been a muddle, while a handful of recent studies have clearly shown voucher students backsliding academically. But no one has studied the largest, single statewide program in the nation …

Until now.

More than 34,000 students are enrolled in Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program. That’s 3 percent of students statewide. In a recent investigation of the program, NPR found some private schools turning away children with disabilities and LGBTQ students, but it was impossible to say, at the time, whether those students who are using vouchers are any better off academically.

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Mitch Daniels: Universities Should Be Responsible For Student Debt

Purdue University President and former governor Mitch Daniels wants public universities to be proactive in helping students pay off student debt. (photo credit: Kyle Stokes/StateImpact Indiana)

Purdue University president and former governor Mitch Daniels wants public universities to be proactive in helping students pay off student debt. (photo credit: Kyle Stokes/StateImpact Indiana)

Purdue University president and former governor Mitch Daniels wants universities to share the burden of student loans.

More than half of college students in Indiana pay for their education using students loans, which on average means students graduate with a degree and almost $30,000 in debt, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

During a panel at the Bipartisan Policy Center this week, Daniels said paying this debt should also be a university’s responsibility. The Indy Star reported on this speech and how Daniels is spearheading an effort at Purdue to help students pay off this debt:

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Ind. Department of Ed Investigating Testing Errors In Rochester

Students' results in the assessment have be invalidated and will be listed as "undetermined" in score reports. (photo credit: Alberto G/flickr.com)

Students\’ results in the assessment have be invalidated and will be listed as \”undetermined\” in score reports. (photo credit: Alberto G/flickr.com)

The State Department of Education is investigating a testing administration error at the Rochester School Corporation. Approximately 700 students used calculators on a portion of this year’s mathematics ISTEP+ exam where calculators were not permitted.

The DOE blames the error on incorrect instructions from the testing vendor.

DOE Communications Director Molly Deuberry says the corporation contacted the Department of Education when officials discovered the problem.

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Indiana Could See Millions Cut From Federal Teacher Training Funds

The future of a federal program dedicated to teacher training and professional remains unclear. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/StateImpact)

The future of a federal program dedicated to teacher training and professional remains unclear. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Schools across Indiana will likely soon lose millions of dollars dedicated to teacher training and professional development.

“It’s a huge deal,” says Sandi Cole, director of the Center on Education and Lifelong Learning at Indiana University. “It goes totally against the desire to improve student learning because you can’t improve student learning without improving teachers’ craft.”

In 2016, Indiana schools received about $36 million in Title II, Part A funds known as the Supporting Effective Instruction grant program. That grant program is the third-largest federal K-12 program in the country.

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Muncie Schools Facing Loss of Teachers And Retainment Issues

Teachers, students, and the community rallied for the school in February. (photo credit: Indiana Public Radio)

Teachers, students, and the community rallied for the school in February. (photo credit: Indiana Public Radio)

A unanimous decision by the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board, or IEERB, ended any hope of Muncie teachers working under the school board’s version of a new teachers contract. IEERB voted last week to uphold the state fact finder’s decision, meaning the teachers will work under a contract written by the Muncie Teachers Association.

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Pittsboro Teen Returns To National Braille Challenge For The Win

 

Mitchell Bridwell will compete in the national Braille Challenge, a contest focused on reading and writing Braille. The contest is an attempt to improve the unemployment rate among blind people, by encouraging Braille literacy.

Mitchell Bridwell will compete in the national Braille Challenge, a contest focused on reading and writing Braille. The contest is an attempt to improve the unemployment rate among blind people, by encouraging Braille literacy. (photo credit: Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

Mitchell Bridwell is a voracious reader.

The Pittsboro teen made his way through some Charles Dickens but would rather spend time inside the worlds of Rick Riordan or J. K. Rowling.

To make it through Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, he’ll have to run his fingertips through six volumes of the braille edition.

But for Mitchell, he’d much rather dig into modern fiction by over smoothly running his fingertips over tiny dots of punctured paper than listening to any audio book or voiceover software.

“I’m not sure if je ne sais quoi would be the right word, but I think that works for braille,” he says while sitting on his couch.

It’s safe to say that Bridwell’s braille reading skills are known nationally. This weekend, he’ll join three other students from the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired to compete at the national Braille Challenge contest in Los Angeles.

To get there, the four beat out 1,100 braille readers and writers in preliminary regional events across the US and Canada. Only 50 students, ages six to 19, made the finals.

In braille — words and letters are formed within units of space known as braille cells. A full braille cell is two parallel rows of three raised dots. Continue Reading

Report: Indiana’s Rural Schools Disproportionally Funded

Like rural districts across Indiana, dropping enrollment in Argos Community Schools means less money for the district. As officials look toward the future, they're nervous about what comes next. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Like rural districts across Indiana, dropping enrollment in Argos Community Schools means less money for the district. As officials look toward the future, they’re nervous about what comes next. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Indiana has the eighth highest population of rural students in the country. One in four public school students in the state attend a rural school.

The Rural School and Community Trust issues a report each year to outline various issues rural schools across the country face. A major takeaway about Indiana is the amount the state funds rural school districts.

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Ivy Tech Strengthening Community Focus With Administrative Changes

Ivy Tech Community College is second in the nation for students using Pell Grants to attend college. (Kyle Stokes/Stateimpact Indiana)

Ivy Tech Community College will undergo administrative changes to focus more on individual communities. (photo credit: Kyle Stokes/Stateimpact Indiana)

Ivy Tech Community college will undergo administrative changes this summer aimed at making each campus more community focused, addressing needs expressed by campuses across the state.

Ivy Tech’s campuses currently serve students at a regional level, but going forward they will focus on specific towns.

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Financial Barriers Keep Most People From Workforce Training

Caleb Pierson looks over a cabinet project he designed for Heartwood Manufacturing. Pierson is a graduate of a program run through Batesville High School, that helps high school students get manufacturing skills while still in high school. This program within the school system is a solution to Batesville's lack of skilled workers for manufacturing jobs.  (photo credit: Claire McInerny/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Caleb Pierson looks over a cabinet project he designed for Heartwood Manufacturing. Pierson is a graduate of a program run through Batesville High School, that helps high school students get manufacturing skills while still in high school. This program within the school system is a solution to Batesville’s lack of skilled workers for manufacturing jobs. (photo credit: Claire McInerny/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Indiana has open manufacturing and construction jobs, but not enough workers with the training to fill them.

The Indiana Institute for Working Families released a new report this month on some of the biggest challenges for people who want to go back to school to earn credentials.

Andrew Bradley is the senior policy analyst for the institute and says more than a million jobs will open in the next decade that require specific training. And most are in manufacturing and construction.

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Holcomb Appointments New SBOE Members, One Previously Served

Tony Walker listens during a State Board of Education meeting in 2014. He vacated the board when a law dictated a restructuring of members, but Gov. Holcomb re-appointed him after a recent vacancy. (Photo Credit: Rachel Morello/StateImpact Indiana)

Tony Walker listens during a State Board of Education meeting in 2014. He vacated the board when a law dictated a restructuring of members, but Gov. Holcomb re-appointed him after a recent vacancy. (Photo Credit: Rachel Morello/StateImpact Indiana)

Gov. Eric Holcomb filled two vacant spots on the State Board of Education, appointing Kathleen Mote and previous board member Tony Walker.

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