Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

228

Elle Moxley

Elle Moxley came to WFIU in 2012 from The Examiner, a community newspaper in suburban Kansas City. She previously worked for KBIA-FM in Columbia, Mo.; The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill.; and the Associated Press in London. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri, where she studied multimedia journalism and broadcasting.

  • Email: emoxley@stateimpact.org

Five Things To Know About The Proposed Social Studies Standards

State Board of Education member Andrea Neal, center, helps her students prepare for the state's 'We the People' competition. Neal, who teaches middle school history, says she's not satisfied with proposed social studies standards.

State Board of Education member Andrea Neal, center, helps her students prepare for the state's 'We the People' competition. Neal, who teaches middle school history, says she's not satisfied with proposed social studies standards.

Lost in the furor over Common Core has been the routine review of Indiana’s social studies standards, which are up for a vote at Wednesday’s State Board meeting.

State education officials typically revise academic expectations in six year cycles.

“This would have been the year for social studies,” says Lou Ann Baker, spokeswoman for the Center for Education and Career Innovation.

But Baker says a legislative mandate to review nationally-crafted math and English language arts standards has overshadowed the regular adoption of new social studies standards.

The State Board is now updating those standards.

Here are four things to know about the proposed expectations for Indiana history classes: Continue Reading

What The Indiana Chamber Is Saying About Proposed Education Standards

K-12 educators and subject matter experts are reviewing the state's academic standards.

K-12 educators and subject matter experts reviewed the state's academic standards and released a draft of new expectations last month.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce wants to see more rigorous high school math standards and a recommended reading list added to the proposed expectations for schools the State Board will consider next month.

“The opponents of Common Core have talked a lot about the so-called ‘common algorithm’ in elementary math,” says Education and Workforce Development Vice President Derek Redelman. “That has been part of our old standards and we’ve suggested those ought to be part of it.”

State education officials released drafts of new academic standards to replace Common Core last month. The pro-Common Core Chamber commissioned its own review to compare the proposed standards to those in other states.

The review looked at standards in three states: Massachusetts, which has adopted the Common Core, and Virginia and Texas, which have not. Redelman says the point of the review was to make sure that there’s nothing missing in Indiana’s next set of student expectations. Continue Reading

Indiana Schools Taking Advantage Of Snow Day Make-Up Flexibility Plan

Inclement weather has canceled class more often than usual in Indiana schools this winter.

Indiana schools have racked up twice as many snow days this winter as they did last year — and many are considering alternate ways to make them up.

Schools are getting creative with how they’ll make up for lost time due to inclement weather, reports Kim Kilbride for the South Bend Tribune:

Today, a spokeswoman from Penn-Harris-Madison schools announced that administrators will use a similarly creative tactic to make up for the multitude of weather-related cancellations this winter.

An “eLearning” plan will be implemented in P-H-M schools from March 17 to May 12, Teresa Carroll said.

Teachers will provide students with a variety of online assignments to do outside the school day. And schools will make accommodations for students who don’t have a home computer or Internet access. Continue Reading

In Indiana, Biggest SAT Question Remains Common Core Alignment

On average, students in Indiana scored lower than their peers in other states on the SAT college entrance exam.

The SAT is getting an overhaul in 2016. The test will also align with the Common Core academic standards.

High school students will take a very different college entrance exam in two years when the company that administers the SAT rolls out a new test, reports Tamar Lewin for The New York Times:

The changes coming to the exam are extensive: The SAT’s rarefied vocabulary words will be replaced by words that are common in college courses, such as “empirical” and “synthesis.” The math questions, now scattered widely across many topics, will focus more narrowly on linear equations, functions and proportional thinking. The use of a calculator will no longer be allowed on some of the math sections. The new exam will be available on paper and computer, and the scoring will revert to the old 1600 scale, with a top score of 800 on math and what will now be called “Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.” The optional essay will have a separate score.

Once the pre-eminent college admissions exam, the SAT has recently lost ground to the ACT, which is based more directly on high school curriculums and is now taken by a slightly higher number of students. Continue Reading

Core Question, Revisited: Will Indiana Still Get Common Core-Aligned Textbooks?

Many Indiana schools are using Everyday Mathematics, curriculum that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

Publishers are marketing textbooks as aligned to Common Core, but new research suggests the material may not match up closely with the nationally-crafted expectations for what students should know and learn at each grade level.

Around this time last year, a reader asked if Indiana would still get Common Core-aligned textbooks if state lawmakers voted to exit the initiative.

Indiana and 44 other states agreed to use the common expectations in 2010. But as it’s now likely the state will become the first to withdraw from an agreement to share standards, we felt it was time to revisit the question.

According to a report from the Office of Management and Budget, a majority of Indiana school districts have already shelled out for new textbooks and curriculum. And while the proposed expectations state education officials will consider next month overlap with Common Core, they also include Indiana-specific content.

But whether Indiana will remain a large enough market to get its own textbooks is anyone’s guess. Last month, two researchers announced textbooks boasting alignment to the nationally-crafted Common Core standards may not conform to the new expectations after all. From Education Week:

But in a Feb. 21 presentation of his research at a seminar in Los Angeles hosted by the Education Writers Association, William Schmidt, a professor of statistics and education at Michigan State University in East Lansing, dismissed most purveyors of such claims as “snake oil salesmen” who have done little more than slap shiny new stickers on the same books they’ve been selling for years. Continue Reading

Listen: Inside Indiana’s Academic Standards Rewrite

Manchester University professor Tim Brauch lectures his discrete math class. Brauch has been involved in the rewrite of Indiana's K-12 standards.

Manchester University professor Tim Brauch lectures his discrete math class. Brauch has been involved in the rewrite of Indiana's K-12 standards.

Manchester University professor Tim Brauch wasn’t always sold on the Common Core — at least not at first.

While working on his doctorate in industrial and applied mathematics at the University of Louisville five years ago, Brauch participated in a fellowship program teaching elementary math.

Though the program predated the Common Core, Brauch says he was expected to use many of the strategies and ideas in the nationally-crafted standards.

“My initial reaction when I saw what we were going to be doing in the classroom with these fourth, fifth and sixth graders was, ‘I don’t think this going to work,’” says Brauch. “But spending two years doing this in the classroom, I really saw that many of the ideas in Common Core were working.” Continue Reading

Parents Want A Say In School Turnaround Efforts

Rockville Elementary Principal Jeff Eslinger, right, watches as a sixth grade teacher helps a student with a math lesson. A turnaround specialist from the Indiana Department of Education was on-site to track implementation of the school improvement plan.

Rockville Elementary Principal Jeff Eslinger, right, watches as a sixth grade teacher helps a student with a math lesson. A turnaround specialist from the Indiana Department of Education was on-site to track implementation of the school improvement plan.

The School City of Hammond is removing principals at five schools that received failing grades as part of a state-directed turnaround effort.

But parents are protesting that decision, reports Carmen McCollum for The Times of Northwest Indiana:

The district already has notified five principals they will be removed. They are Hammond High School’s principal and principals at Hess, Harding, Edison and Irving Elementary schools.

Edison Principal Marsha Frey acknowledged the school dropped from a B in 2011 to an F in 2012 and 2013, and said there were too many children who showed low growth. She said the priority areas for improvement include focusing on English/language arts and third- and fourth-grade math students.

Parent Judy Flanagan said the principal and teachers are dedicated, and she’s witnessed teachers working with struggling students. Continue Reading

Cash-Strapped Muncie Schools In Need Of Massive Building Repairs

District officials say Muncie Central High School will need $1.9 million in repairs over the next several years.

District officials say Muncie Central High School will need $1.9 million in repairs over the next several years.

School officials in Muncie say the cash-strapped district will need to take out a $10 million bond to pay for repairs now and in the future.

Among the most pressing upgrades is the $1.9 million earmarked for Muncie Central, which will open next year as the district’s only high school, writes Michelle Kinsey for the Muncie Star Press:

[Muncie Superintendent Tim] Heller said that in response to the many community members who voiced concern that if that amount was needed to open this fall, why didn’t they just use Southside as the main high school?

“The Southside building is not big enough to put the two student bodies in,” he said. “And we only need some of those things on the list to be able to open in August and that’s the (wall) dividers, lockers, some painting and the water fountains.” Continue Reading

Governor Pence Still Advocating For Pre-K Pilot Amid Legislative Setbacks

Gov. Mike Pence signs an executive order creating the Center for Education & Career Innovation, an office to oversee his education goals.

Gov. Mike Pence signs an executive order creating the Center for Education & Career Innovation, an office to oversee his education goals.

Gov. Mike Pence is still pushing for Indiana lawmakers to approve a preschool voucher program even after Senate Republicans scrapped the proposal.

Pence is headed to the Shepherd Community Center in Indianapolis this morning to visit pre-K classrooms and renew his appeal. The governor already made a rare appearance before the General Assembly earlier this month to back a pre-K bill from Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis.

But his support wasn’t enough to convince fiscal conservatives worried about how to pay for the program, and it’s unclear whether his continued backing will sway state lawmakers. Earlier this week state senators rejected a Democratic attempt to revive the pilot program.

It hasn’t been an easy session for the governor, who has had trouble advancing many of his legislative priorities. Tuesday, lawmakers sent a Pence-backed plan to pay teachers to relocate to struggling schools to summer study committee. Continue Reading

Are Proposed Academic Standards Back To ‘Mile-Wide And Inch-Deep’ Instruction?

State Board of Education members Cari Whicker and Sarah O'Brien listen during the Indianapolis public meeting on academic standards.

State Board of Education members Cari Whicker and Sarah O'Brien listen during the Indianapolis public meeting on academic standards.

It’s not often proponents and opponents of Common Core agree.

But speakers on both sides of the aisle told state education officials Tuesday at a public hearing in Indianapolis there are just too many proposed academic standards to teach.

Schauna Findlay is president of the Indiana Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and reviewed the standards for the state’s pro-Common Core Chamber of Commerce. Findlay says the educator teams who developed the drafts have included more standards than teachers can get through in a year.

“Everything they said ‘this is a good standard’ was included in the draft standards without paying attention to have we now completely overloaded a particular grade level with additional content?” she says.

Findlay says in elementary math, Indiana has added a number of probability and measurement standards without subtracting anything. Continue Reading

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »

Economy
Education