Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, sits on the Indiana Senate Education Committee and chairs the Appropriations Committee.
“This,” says Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, referring to a proposed preschool program, “is almost a potential budget buster.”
Gov. Mike Pence asked state lawmakers this year to approve a small-scale preschool pilot program for low-income 4-year-olds. But Kenley, who chairs the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, says he’s not ready to commit to state-funded pre-K.
The House passed a bill earlier this session creating a pilot program that would provide vouchers for low-income Hoosier children to attend preschool. But the Senate eliminated the program, creating instead a comprehensive summer study on pre-K.
As House and Senate leaders negotiate over the pre-K bill’s final product, Long says a smaller version of the pilot could be in the works.
“There’s an argument that we need to have something out there to see what is or isn’t working, so you have an opportunity, then, to implement some evidence-based programs out there that we can look towards as we talk about implementing a much larger program in the state,” says Long. Continue Reading →
Pence says “the time is now” for the legislature to reinstate a pre-k pilot program after the Senate Education Committee gutted a bill last week that would have provided vouchers for 1,000 4-year-olds in five counties to attend preschool.
Instead, lawmakers replaced it with a study committee on the issue. But Pence says the pilot program can be used to help inform the study committee.
“The legislative process, more importantly, is about persuasion and we are on a daily basis engaging with members of the General Assembly in both parties to make the case that the time has come for expanding access to quality pre-k programs to some of our most disadvantaged kids,” says Pence. Continue Reading →
Bosma says after Wednesday’s State Board meeting, he’s happy with their progress.
“We’ve been chatting with everyone – the governor’s office, the State Board of Education members and the superintendent and her team – and it looks like everybody’s playing nice and moving in the same direction,” he says. “So that’s welcome news, I think, for all of us.” Continue Reading →
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 →
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