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.
State superintendent Glenda Ritz, right, talks to State Board of Education member B.J. Watts during a strategic planning session on Dec. 3.
State superintendent Glenda Ritz says she thinks Indiana education officials can wrap up their review of the Common Core in time to have academic standards in place for next school year.
“Keep in mind we’re working from the standards we are currently teaching,” Ritz says. “So there will be revisions to those standards. The plan is for— the timeline is hopefully the State Board of Education will have final approval in April, and we’ll get out any revisions to the staff here in the spring.”
But some State Board members aren’t sure if that’s enough time to do their job property.
Right now most Indiana teachers are teaching the nationally-crafted Common Core standards the state adopted back in 2010. They’re also teaching what Ritz calls “Indiana academic indicators” — expectations for what students need to know and learn at each grade level to pass the statewide ISTEP+ test.
It’s an interesting question, considering the week began with State Superintendent Glenda Ritz and the Center for Education and Career Innovation hashing it out over the details of the group’s regular December business meeting. CECI spokesman Lou Ann Baker told StateImpact in an email the two sides had been unable to reach an agreement on the agenda in time to post it 48 hours before the meeting.
So Wednesday’s meeting will be what Ritz is calling an “orientation session” with representatives from the National Association of State Boards of Education on hand to mediate ongoing tensions between the Department of Education and Governor Mike Pence’s new education agency. It will still be open to the public, but board members won’t be able to take any action.
The same assessments also predicted the increases seen at the elementary level, according to superintendent Greg Parsley.
“Our Acuity test, which is a predictor test published by McGraw-Hill, gave indicators that we were going to have good things to talk about with the elementary schools,” he said. “And the same thing was there with the middle school. We didn’t expect to see the same kind of jumps, but we were expecting to see a slight increase, at least a following along of the trends of other state schools.” Continue Reading →
Earlier this month Ritz walked out of a meeting when board members asked to involve their staff — separate from the Department of Education — in the review of state academic standards. At the time, Ritz said the blame rested not with individual board members but with Governor Mike Pence, who created a new education agency, the Center for Education and Career Innovation, over the summer.
Ritz and Pence met Tuesday and agreed to bring in the National Association of State Boards of Education to help defuse the situation.
“Since the last meeting of the State Board of Education, I have said that the governor and I needed to work together directly to address recent issues that have arisen,” Ritz said in the statement. “Yesterday’s meeting was a first step towards that goal. I believe the governor now has a clearer understanding of my concerns regarding the CECI, but much work remains to be done.” Continue Reading →
Until fall 2012, Rural Community Academy was the only rural charter school in Indiana. That changed when Canaan Community Academy opened in southern Indiana, using the Graysville model.
[Graysville school leader Susie] Pierce said the Canaan residents found themselves in the same place that the Graysville community was in more than a decade ago — a similar place to where the community of Dugger is now experiencing, with school closure pending.
“We asked what they were going to do to this building,” Pierce said of the Graysville closing, “and they said, ‘turn off the utilities, put plywood on the windows and abandon the building.’ That’s what Canaan was facing, too.” Continue Reading →
“Even through email, a perceived proactive ratification of an action concerning public interest is leaning against the public policy intentions of openness and transparency, but it cannot definitively be considered a violation of the Open Door Law as the legislature intended,” Public Access Counselor Luke Britt wrote in his advisory opinion.
Tensions between the State Board and State Superintendent Glenda Ritz had been escalating for months when the 10 appointed members asked state lawmakers to intervene in the issuing of A-F letter grades for schools, accusing the Department of Education of dragging its feet.
Left: Advocates for closing Union Junior-Senior High School and Dugger Elementary sat on one side of the gym wearing North Central High School colors. Right: Proponents of keeping the two schools open sat on the other set of bleachers.
And in the middle of the North Central High School gym stood Indiana State Troopers tasked with keeping the peace among the more than 700 attendees.
This much is clear: The district will have to act soon, or risk running out of money. But the two groups that presented Monday night have a very different vision for what should happen next.
Chriss Jobe, speaking on behalf of the Save Union High School group that formed earlier this month, says the possibility of closing the two Dugger schools blindsided community.
“To think that Farmersburg, Shelburn, Hymera and Dugger communities could have woken up less than two weeks ago and heard on their news that their school — that is most likely the heart and lifeblood of their community — was in store for some major changes, without prior public disclosure, is somewhat astonishing,” Jobe told the Board of Trustees. Continue Reading →
For decades, the GED has been synonymous with high school equivalency. But GED Testing Services is moving the exam entirely online in 2014. That’s a problem because most Hoosiers still take a paper and pencil version of the test.
So earlier this year the Department of Workforce Development announced it was dropping the GED in favor of the Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or TASC, which doesn’t require a computer.
“It’s not going to be just necessarily a science literacy test or a social studies literacy test where they would read passages like on the GED test and answer questions about them,” says Moore. “They’ll actually have to know a little bit about science and a little bit of some social studies subjects.” Continue Reading →
No one wants to see Dugger and Union High School close, but the bottom line is that “there is no other choice,” Leslie Hawker, chairwoman of Save NESC, told about 60 people Wednesday at the Shelburn Community Center.
“If we do nothing, we are finished — the corporation will go down,” she said.
The group supports a reorganization proposal that calls for closing both Union Junior/Senior High and Dugger Elementary. Two elementaries would remain: Hymera and Farmersburg. Shelburn Elementary would be closed, and instead it would become a sixth/seventh/eighth middle school, serving the entire school district. North Central would serve as the district’s sole high school.
The district has made serious cuts to staff and programs. “There is no place else to cut,” Hawker said. The district currently is spending more than it is taking in. “We can’t sustain this level of expenditure one more year,” she said. Continue Reading →
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