Peter Balonon-Rosen is a multimedia reporter/producer for WFIU/WTIU news. Peter covers issues, innovations and reforms that affect Indiana education. He comes to WFIU/WTIU from WBUR in Boston, where he served as lead education reporter for WBUR's Learning Lab. Peter graduated from Tufts University with a bachelor's degree in American Studies and certificate in Film Studies. When he's not in the newsroom, Peter enjoys playing music, arguing about who's the best Ramone (Dee Dee, duh) and reading good fiction.
You can follow him on Twitter @pbalonon_rosen. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The future of a federal program dedicated to teacher training and professional remains unclear. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)
Schools across Indiana will likely soon lose millions of dollars dedicated to teacher training and professional development.
“It’s a huge deal,” says Sandi Cole, director of the Center on Education and Lifelong Learning at Indiana University. “It goes totally against the desire to improve student learning because you can’t improve student learning without improving teachers’ craft.”
In 2016, Indiana schools received about $36 million in Title II, Part A funds known as the Supporting Effective Instruction grant program. That grant program is the third-largest federal K-12 program in the country.
The Indiana Finance Authority plans to test over 700 schools for lead in their water. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)
State officials plan to investigate the drinking water of over 700 Indiana public schools for lead contamination this summer. Officials will travel the state to collect samples from drinking fountains, kitchen sinks and other fixtures that provide drinking water across school campuses.
Water testing will be led by the environmental arm of the Indiana Finance Authority, which oversees state funds from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos faces questions about a Bloomington school whose admissions brochure gives them the right to deny admission or end enrollment for students whose home lives include behaviors prohibited in the Bible, including homosexual or bisexual activity. (C-Span screenshot)
Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education, weathered a volley of questions this week about a Bloomington, Indiana private school that receives state-funded vouchers but reserves the right to deny admission or discontinue enrollment to students from lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender families.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visits Providence Cristo Rey High School on May 23, 2017. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited a high-performing private Indianapolis high school Tuesday, where nearly every student receives a voucher. She toured Providence Cristo Rey High School on a fact-finding mission and meet students and staff.
“We should all be very alarmed,” says Jasmine Tucker, director of research at the National Women’s Law Center. “Discipline is a problem across the board and Indiana is up there with black girls, in particular, being especially likely — about six times as likely — to be suspended from school.”
Purdue President Mitch Daniels Mitch Daniels on discusses the creation of a new public university. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood)
So, there’s been some big news going around the higher education world this past week. In a nutshell: Indiana’s Purdue University will acquire the for-profit Kaplan University, which operates primarily online.
Since this news broke, there’s been plenty of speculation about what it means when a public research university acquires a for-profit entity: Is this a way for a public research university to reach more students? Is this a way that a for-profit college can operate in “stealth mode?”
The Indiana Statehouse. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)
Indiana has officially outlawed so-called sanctuary campuses, colleges and universities that pledge they won’t share anyone’s immigration status with federal authorities.
A bill signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb bans higher education institutions from officially pledging non-cooperation with immigration authorities. If one does, the state would be able to file a civil suit and a court could enjoin the institution.
A 2011 Indiana law bars cities and towns from declaring sanctuary status or interfering with immigration authorities’ work to enforce immigration laws. This now extends to the role colleges and universities might take in protecting people who entered the U.S. illegally.
Former first lady Michelle Obama might find some of the latest actions by the Trump administration pretty difficult to stomach.
On Monday newly minted Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a rollback of school lunch standards championed by the former first lady, declaring at a Virginia school that the administration would “Make School Meals Great Again.”
The school nutrition standards have long been a source of controversy, making them a more likely target of the current administration.
Earlier Monday, CNN initially reported a more surprising cut — that the Trump White House would not continue the Let Girls Learn program in its current form. The initiative aims to provide educational opportunities for young women in developing countries.
However, administration officials later clarified that the program was not being axed.
“There have been no changes to the Let Girls Learn program. The Administration supports policies and programs to empower adolescent girls, including efforts to educate them through the completion of secondary school,” a State Department official told NPR. “We are committed to empowering women and girls around the world and are continuing to examine the best ways to do so.”