Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

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Claire McInerny

Claire McInerny is a reporter/producer for WFIU/WTIU news. She comes to WFIU/WTIU from KCUR in Kansas City. She graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Kansas where she discovered her passion for public media and the stories it tells. You can follow her on Twitter @ClaireMcInerny.

  • Email: clmciner@indiana.edu

Back To School: How To Get Dropouts Back In College

The Commission for Higher Education wants to encourage more than 700,000 students with some college credit but no degree to return to school.

A&M-Commerce (flickr)

The Commission for Higher Education wants to encourage more than 700,000 students with some college credit but no degree to return to school.

The Commission for Higher Education this week is planning a communication campaign to convince Hoosiers with some college credit but no college degree to go back to school. That description applies to more than seven hundred thousand people across the state.

The campaign is launching now because of the Commission’s goal is to have 60 percent of Hoosiers earn a college degree by 2025 – a lofty goal that can’t happen with only the current population of college students. So the Commission is launching a campaign that encourages students who left college with completing their degree to return.

Sarah Ancel is in charge of legislation and policy priorities for the Commission. She says the new initiative will benefit the entire state’s economy. Continue Reading

Ritz: My Biggest Concern Is Pence Solidifying CECI’s Power

Ritz was elected in 2012, and shortly after Pence created the Center for Education and Career Innovation.

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

Ritz was elected in 2012, and shortly after Pence created the Center for Education and Career Innovation.

Since taking office in 2012, state superintendent Glenda Ritz has faced political backlash from other education leaders in the state. With summer study committees underway and legislative issues brought back to the surface, Ritz says her biggest concern for the next legislative session is having her department pushed out for the governor’s newly created Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI).

Ritz spoke to the Bloomington Press Club Monday outlining where education policy in the state is heading over the next year and what has happened the last two. Ritz says she knew going from educator to politician would be difficult, but didn’t anticipate the governor created a new education state agency.

“I knew I was in a political situation to get some things done but I didn’t expect that to happen,” she said. Continue Reading

Education Panel: To Improve Education State Must Address Poverty

The panel touted Indiana's policy on school choice and what the state needs to do to improve.

www.audio-luci-store.it (flickr)

The panel touted Indiana's policy on school choice and what the state needs to do to improve.

A panel of national and local education leaders met in Indianapolis on Friday to discuss the future of school choice in the state and how other cities and states can replicate its success.

The University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education hosted the discussion at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Indiana education representatives attending included Indianapolis Public Schools, The Mind Trust, Carpe Diem Schools, The Archdiocese of Indianapolis and Mayor Greg Ballard’s Office.

One of the things the Indiana education panel discussed was the success Indianapolis has with pushing forward education reform with vouchers, charter schools and expanded programs. Continue Reading

Fort Wayne Schools Receive $400,000 To Hire More Counselors

The U.S. Department of Education awarded Fort Wayne Community schools almost $400,000 to improve its counseling program.

MyTudut (flickr)

The U.S. Department of Education awarded Fort Wayne Community schools almost $400,000 to improve its counseling program.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded Fort Wayne Community Schools more than $400,000 Thursday as part of a grant to improve school counseling programs.

The grant was given to 40 school districts across the country, and Fort Wayne was the only Indiana district to receive one.

Fort Wayne Community Schools spokesperson Krista Stockman says the district will use the money to hire three new counselors that will serve at elementary schools in the district. Currently, counselors are only available in middle and high schools, and Stockman says putting counselors in elementary schools could dramatically help students.

“We know that if we can help them at a young age, the sooner we can get them the support and the assistance that they need the more impact we’ll have on long term academic success,” Stockman says. Continue Reading

Today Is Last Day Of School At Flanner House Elementary

Flanner House Elementary School in Indianpolis closed for good today after an investigation found teachers cheated on 2013 ISTEP+ tests.

Sam Klemet / WFYI

Flanner House Elementary School in Indianpolis closed for good today after an investigation found teachers cheated on 2013 ISTEP+ tests.

Flanner House Elementary—the Indianapolis charter school at the center of a cheating scandal—closes its doors for good Thursday.

Most of the school’s 176 students transferred after the board voted August 20th to close the school. Indianapolis Charter School Director Brandon Brown says there are fewer than ten students still enrolled as of today.

“It’s our understanding that all of them have already enrolled in a new school and are just choosing to actually wait and attend the school until tomorrow,” Brown said.

Brown says his office has been in regular contact with affected families and will continue to lend support as students move to new schools.

“We’re providing complete assistance with uniform costs and then any school supply cost as well,” Brown says. “Then we’re working with receiving schools to make the transition process as smooth as possible.”  Continue Reading

State Receives Mostly B’s In U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Report Card

The "Leaders and Laggards" report is written by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

ludwg (flickr)

The "Leaders and Laggards" report is written by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Indiana earned top grades in school choice and data quality in its education system, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s 2014 “Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on K-12 Educational Effectiveness” report released Thursday.

The report looks at the state of education and its effectiveness on students, communities and the country as a whole. Each state was given an A-F grade for 11 areas of a state’s education system, including academic achievement, postsecondary and workforce readiness, parental options and fiscal responsibility to name a few. (All of the grades are listed below and descriptions of each category and how the grades were calculated are outlined here.) Continue Reading

Union School Corporation Near Muncie Considering Consolidation

Decreased enrollment in the Union School Corporation in Modoc is forcing the the school board to consider consolidation.

Dondu.Small (flickr)

Decreased enrollment in the Union School Corporation in Modoc is forcing the the school board to consider consolidation.

The Union School Corporation in Modoc is considering consolidation, and the school board held a special meeting Monday to hear feedback from the community.

Michelle Kinsey of the The Star Press reports parents, students and community members attending the meeting had mixed reactions to the idea of consolidation. Kinsey reports school board President Todd Holaday told the audience the school board thinks consolidation is the right decision for the district at this point:

The reasons, he noted were: declines in enrollment will continue; academic concerns cannot financially be addressed; additional expense cuts are not appropriate; the general fund cash balance is rapidly declining; the district’s outstanding debt is a little lower than the cash balance; state support will soon drop about $200,000 more, and “waiting will decrease our bargaining position.”

Union is the fourth smallest school district in the state, with 340 students enrolled between the elementary school and junior/senior high school.  Continue Reading

Difference Between Kids Who Ask For Help & Those Who Don’t: Money

A new stud from and IU sociology professor found students from middle class families are more likely to ask for help from teachers than students from working class families.

www.audio-luci-store.it (flickr)

A new study from an IU sociology professor found students from middle class families are more likely to ask for help from teachers than students from working class families.

Imagine you’re a fourth grade student, sitting in class, and your teacher is introducing a lesson on multiplying a set of two digit numbers. You’re having trouble following along and know you won’t be able to do the homework on your own. Yet, you don’t consider raising your hand to ask for help or consider asking the teacher after to school to explain it to you. Why?

a) You’re a shy kid and don’t want to admit you’re confused in front of your peers.
b) You raised your hand a lot during the previous lesson and don’t want to seem dumb.
c) Your single mom works at the local Target.

Although option c doesn’t seem logical in this context, it’s the very reason Indiana University sociologist Jessica Calarco says this student won’t ask for him. In a study released this month, Calarco presents findings that students of a middle class family are more willing to ask for help compared to kids from working class families. Continue Reading

Purdue Introduces New Competency-Based Degree Program

The Purdue Bell Tower on the West Lafayette campus.

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

The Purdue Bell Tower on the West Lafayette campus.

The College of Technology at Purdue University introduced a new program last week that allows students to decide the progress of their education outside of the traditional academic calendar.

Students can work on their own timelines to master specific skills at their own pace.

School officials says this approach is better than letter grades at indicating when a student is competent in a subject area.

Haley Dover of the Journal & Courier reports the new program is an initiative to get more people into skilled technology jobs.  Continue Reading

Ritz’s Budget Proposal Seeks To End Textbook Fees For Students

Indiana is one of eight states in the country that charges students for textbook rentals. The Indiana Department of Education wants more money from the legislature to cover that cost.

Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

Indiana is one of eight states in the country that charges students for textbook rentals. The Indiana Department of Education wants more money from the legislature to cover that cost.

In its budget proposal submitted this week, the Indiana Department of Education requested a $70 million dollar increase to the state’s textbook reimbursement fund.

Currently, Indiana is one of eight states to charge families for the cost of textbook rentals, and state superintendent Glenda Ritz says the state should pay for it.

Noel Koontz is an English teacher at the Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship in Bloomington. He says the cost of renting textbooks each year is often hundreds of dollars per student, which is a financial strain on most families.

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