Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Peter Balonon-Rosen

Reporter

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: pbalonon@indiana.edu

Indiana Could See Millions Cut From Federal Teacher Training Funds

The future of a federal program dedicated to teacher training and professional remains unclear. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/StateImpact)

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.

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Why Indiana School Districts Will Rethink Valedictorian Rankings

Across Indiana, school districts plan to ditch valedictorian rankings in favor of new ranking models. (Lauren Chapman/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Across Indiana, school districts plan to ditch valedictorian rankings in favor of new ranking models. (Lauren Chapman/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

It’s no secret. Top students battle it out each year for one title: Valedictorian.

Now, as school years come to a close, across Indiana schools will rethink that school ranking, including schools in Hamilton County, Kokomo and Fort Wayne.

As schools look to the future, it’s the latest as schools plan to do away with a ranking model some label “archaic.”

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Indiana To Begin Testing For Lead In Public School Water

The Indiana Finance Authority plans to test over 700 schools for lead in their water. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

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.

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DeVos Grilled Over LGBTQ Discrimination At Bloomington Voucher School

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos faces questions about a Bloomington school whose admissions brochure gives then 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)

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.

Bloomington’s Lighthouse Christian Academy was held up as an example of a private school that receives tax dollars but reserves the right to discriminate against students, as federal lawmakers questioned DeVos over a budget that plans to spend $1 billion on a federal school choice agenda.

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Education Secretary DeVos Visits Catholic Voucher School In Indy

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 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.

DeVos’ school visit follows a Monday speech in Indianapolis where she alluded to “an ambitious” federal expansion of school choice. DeVos did not lay out details of what a federal program could look like.

Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program currently gives over 30,000 students state money for private school. It’s the largest voucher program of its kind in the country.

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Ex-Indiana Schools Chief Opens School Board Consulting Business

Glenda Ritz, former Indiana superintendent of public instruction, will head up a new education consulting firm.  (Rachel Morello/StateImpact Indiana)

Glenda Ritz, former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, will head up a new education consulting firm. (Rachel Morello/StateImpact Indiana)” credit=”

Glenda Ritz, Indiana’s former Superintendent of Public Instruction, will soon work on education matters in a new role. She now leads Advancing Public Schools as president and CEO.

The company’s mission is “dedicated to advancing the nation’s public school system through partnerships with local school boards in the areas of advocacy and literacy,” according to their website.

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Report: Girls Of Color Face Harsher Discipline In Indiana Schools

A new report highlights the disproportionate suspension of girls of color in Indiana schools. (Eric Castro/Flickr)

A new report highlights the disproportionate suspension of girls of color in Indiana schools. (Eric Castro/Flickr)” credit=”

Girls of color are much more likely than white girls to be suspended from Indiana schools and schools nationwide, according to a new report.

Indiana schools suspend about one in nine black girls, one in 29 Latina girls and one in 50 white girls, according to the report from the National Women’s Law Center.

“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.”

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6 Questions To Ask About The Purdue-Kaplan Deal

Purdue President Mitch Daniels Mitch Daniels on discusses the creation of a new public university. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood).

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?”

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Sanctuary Campuses Now Illegal Under Indiana Law

The Indiana Statehouse. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

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.

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Trump Administration Rolls Back Healthy School Lunch Push

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.”

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