Kyle Stokes joined WFIU/WTIU in 2011 as an education reporter and blogger for StateImpact Indiana, a collaborative reporting venture between WFIU and NPR News. He comes to Bloomington from Columbia, Mo., where he was a producer and reporter for NPR member station KBIA-FM and NBC affiliate KOMU-TV. Originally from Minneapolis, Minn., Stokes is a proud graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and an even prouder Minnesota Twins fan.
Hoosiers Against Common Core co-founder Erin Tuttle listens to testimony during a statehouse hearing on Common Core. Tuttle has helped lead the charge against the nationally-crafted academic standards.
But if you look up, you’ll also see the tagline “from the capitol to the classroom” — a mission we really do take seriously at StateImpact.
We think telling the stories about how education policy shapes the lives of students, teachers and parents is our most important charge. So this year, we decided to focus our list of memorable characters on people, not policymakers.
Here’s a look back at the people who helped us tell the stories of education in Indiana this year: Continue Reading →
Private schools still earned A’s at a higher rate than public schools — but that rate has slipped significantly. This year, 51 percent of private schools received the top grade, down more than 30 percentage points since 2011.
Teacher Janet Craig helps students identify colors during at pre-kindergarten camp at Maple Elementary in Avon, Ind. United Way funds the camp, which is staffed by local teachers and volunteers from the Indiana University Health system.
Fifteen years ago, barely one-third of kindergarten teachers felt it was important their students learn to read before first grade.
State superintendent Glenda Ritz speaks to State Board of Education member Brad Oliver after returning from a recess during which her staff and representatives of the Center for Education and Career Innovation hashed out a motion for the panel to approve a conceptual framework for a new A-F grading system.
It appears that battle is headed for a conclusive showdown on Friday, with State Board of Education members set to meet to vote on several controversial measures that could limit Indiana schools chief Glenda Ritz’s authority and empower Gov. Mike Pence’s newly-formed education agency.
Both sides are digging in. The state’s largest teachers union, the Indiana State Teachers Association, blogged that State Board members “will remove roles that State Superintendents have possessed as Chair of the board for years” at Friday’s meeting. They asked Ritz supporters to contact board members to express their concerns.
“I think it’s important to [phase out the business personal property tax] in a way that doesn’t disadvantage local communities or local schools,” Pence told reporters after outlining his education agenda this week. Continue Reading →
Carrie Hillyard, who leads the turnaround team Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation leaders created to assist five struggling district schools, speaks to State Board of Education members at a public hearing on the future of Glenwood Leadership Academy.
By the time Tamara Skinner had finished speaking, the crowd had come to its feet.
Skinner was one of several Evansville school leaders and community stakeholders who pleaded with State Board of Education members and superintendent Glenda Ritz for a chance to turn Glenwood around on their own.
“GLA is poised for success,” she added, “and we need time to exercise the game plan we have.”
Six straight years of low test scores — scores which rank among Indiana’s worst — have put the school at risk of state intervention or takeover. About 28 percent of Glenwood students passed statewide tests last school year, down from 37 percent in 2012.
The main entrance of Glenwood Leadership Academy, a K-8 school in Evansville.
Evansville school leaders will plead their case directly to state education officials Tuesday night, hoping to convince them their newly-implemented school turnaround plan will be enough to reverse years of failing test scores at Glenwood Leadership Academy.
Nearly three-quarters of Glenwood students did not pass their ISTEP+ exams this year, requiring State Board of Education members to determine if and how they will intervene. They could hire an outside organization to step in to help improve the school — or take it over altogether.
Glenwood would be the sixth Indiana school state officials had taken over in the past three years — if state officials decide to go that route. When faced with the option to set up a “lead partnership” intervention at an Indianapolis high school last year, board members declined after district officials hired an outside school turnaround team.
But state superintendent Glenda Ritz, who has said she’s personally disinclined to launch a takeover, isn’t ruling out any of the board’s options. Continue Reading →
Indiana House Education Committee Chair Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis, will push a bill in the upcoming session to create a “data backpack,” based on a new Utah law the American Legislative Exchange Council recently highlighted as model legislation.