Senate Democrats want to make lowering Indiana's compulsory attendance one of state lawmakers' early childhood education initiatives this session.
The state’s legislative leaders say an increased emphasis on providing early childhood education will be a key focus of the upcoming session — and Senate Democrats say that focus should include requiring Hoosier children to attend school at a younger age.
Under Indiana law, Hoosier kids don’t have to attend school until they’re 7 years old. That’s one of the latest mandatory school ages in the country. Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, says he was surprised to learn that the age had never been lowered.
“By the time kids reach the age of seven, there’s so much development that should have occurred already,” says Lanane. “It’s crucial that we get the mandatory start age down.” Continue Reading →
State Supt. Glenda Ritz takes questions from reporters after the July 19 State Board of Education meeting.
State Superintendent Glenda Ritz says emails from Governor Pence’s new education agency reveal an attempt to oust her as chairwoman of the State Board of Education. But Pence administration officials say that attempt is going nowhere.
The policy document floats the possibility of removing Ritz as head of the State Board. But the document also warns such a move “may have substantial political fallout,” and clarifying the chair’s role might serve the same end.
Ritz says she is committed to maintaining her role on the Board and preserving her authority to, in her words, “protect the voice of the voters” in the face of a plan to “take away authority statutorily given to the Department of Education.”
“Everybody just keeps saying, ‘We want pre-K,’ and I’ve never even had an explanation of what services they want or what their objectives would be,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, told StateImpact last week. Continue Reading →
House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City.
Indiana Democratic leaders fear lawmakers may push to strip Superintendent Glenda Ritz of some authority in the upcoming legislative session.
Though statehouse Republicans have said such a move is not likely, House Minority Leader Scott Pelath’s prediction comes in the midst of an ongoing conflict between Ritz, the State Board of Education and a new agency created by Governor Pence.
Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis, left, and Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, say statehouse Republicans will send a letter to the State Board of Education recommending Indiana write its own expectations for students.
Indiana’s top Republican lawmakers say it’s time to move on from the Common Core standards initiative and write state-level expectations for students.
House Speaker Brian Bosma called the fight over nationally-crafted education standards known as the Common Core a “distraction” and says it’s time for Indiana to develop its own expectations for students.
“They need to incorporate, be compatible with the ACT and the SAT,” says Bosma. “We can’t ignore those tests despite, no kidding, some legislators telling me, ‘Why do we care?’ And we need to have a test that tests those standards…and it may not be off the shelf.”
Bosma says he’s hopeful the ongoing conflict can be resolved before the legislature has to act but that the General Assembly is willing to step in if necessary. He says he isn’t ruling out legislation that would strip Ritz of her responsibility as chairwoman of State Board.
But he says it’s less likely state lawmakers would try to make her job an appointed position.
“Because it just adds to the appearance that someone is trying to take someone away from an elected official due to political results and that is not the goal,” says Bosma. Continue Reading →
Former State Superintendent Tony Bennett resigned from his post in Florida over allegations of wrongdoing in Indiana.
Indiana House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says he sees no sense of urgency from the state Inspector General in the investigation into the school grade changing scandal involving former State Superintendent Tony Bennett.
“We heard about statistical modeling, we heard about bureaucratic pressures on the Department of Education, we heard about all the rush to get things done and all the commotion in the particular office,” says Pelath. “But why did they do it? Why did they pick the winner in advance?” Continue Reading →
The State Board created a strategic planning committee last month to spearhead work on the plan. That committee met for the first time Wednesday and unanimously directed board staff to negotiate a contract with the Center for Educational Leadership and Technology, a national education and information technology firm.
Strategic Planning Committee Chair Dan Elsener says one of the most important factors in choosing CELT was the firm’s experience in developing strategic plans for education.
“This is an art and science and they’re really good with data and putting it in a framework that’s understandable,” says Elsener. Continue Reading →
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