Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Rural Schools Explore Multiple Tactics To Save Districts

Mike Keaffaber, MSD Wabash County's superintendent and Jason Callahan, Wabash City Schools superintendent, commissioned a study to look at the future of population in Wabash County. Both school districts struggle financially as enrollment continues to decline.

Mike Keaffaber, MSD Wabash County’s superintendent and Jason Callahan, Wabash City Schools superintendent, commissioned a study to assess population trends in Wabash County. Both districts struggle financially, as enrollment continues to decline. (photo credit: Claire McInerny/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

There are two school districts in Wabash, Indiana, not enough students to fill both, and both are struggling financially.

Jason Callahan is superintendent of one of these districts, Wabash City Schools, and he’s made a lot of changes to save money.

“At some point you can’t cut any more,” Callahan says. “We’re down to one elementary, one middle school one high school, in our whole district, so there’s no more buildings to reorganize.”

With those school consolidations in Wabash City Schools, the only remaining elementary school is is at maximum capacity.

Continue Reading

State Announces Pre-K Expansion Counties

Indiana's preschool pilot program would expand to 15 new counties and include a controversial option for online preschool under legislation heading to the governor's desk. (Barnaby Wasson/Flickr)

(Barnaby Wasson/Flickr)

Low-income families in 15 counties will soon be able to use state money to send their 4-year-old children to preschool. Indiana’s first pre-K pilot included five counties – some urban and some rural.

One of the additional counties is Delaware, where Carrie Bale runs the By5 Early Childhood Initiative. She says while she’s glad for the new opportunity, the expansion includes a new requirement that could exclude families that need the service.

“In the first round three years ago in the five original counties, it was an income qualifier – and that was the only qualifier,” Bale says. “With this new round coming out, it’s an income qualifier of 127 percent of poverty, plus the parents have to be working or going to school. That’s going to be our challenge.”

Continue Reading

4 Former Low-Performing Private Schools OK’ed To Take New Vouchers

Indiana State Board of Education member Gordon Hendry voted against giving four private schools waivers to accept new vouchers from the Choice Scholarship Program during the June 7, 2017, board meeting in Indianapolis. (Photo Credit: Eric Weddle/WFY News)

Indiana State Board of Education member Gordon Hendry voted against giving four private schools waivers to accept new vouchers from the Choice Scholarship Program during the June 7, 2017, board meeting in Indianapolis. (Photo Credit: Eric Weddle/WFY News)

The Indiana State Board of Education approved four private schools with a history of low performance and academic failure to accept publicly funded vouchers to cover tuition for incoming students during a meeting Wednesday.

The schools had lost their ability to enroll new students in the Choice Scholarship Program because they had been rated a D or F on the state’s accountability system for at least two consecutive years.

Continue Reading

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.”

Continue Reading

Indy’s Al Hubbard Bows Out Of Consideration For No. 2 U.S. Education Job

Indianapolis philanthropist and school reform advocate Al Hubbard was considered to be a top nomination for U.S. Education Department deputy secretary. (photo credit: DePauw University)

Indianapolis philanthropist and school reform advocate Al Hubbard was considered to be a top nomination for U.S. Education Department deputy secretary. (photo credit: DePauw University)

Indianapolis philanthropist and school reform advocate Al Hubbard has taken himself out of consideration for the nomination for U.S. Education Department deputy secretary.

Hubbard told WFYI News he’s been undergoing the vetting process for the country’s No. 2 education job for months but the requirements of the Office of Government Ethics would have caused financial complications for his family.

“It would have been extremely costly to us. Once they made it clear what we were going to have to do, we concluded that we couldn’t justify doing it,” Hubbard tells WFYI. “And we were very upset about it, sorry about it, ’cause we were very enthusiastic about it.”

Hubbard’s withdrawal and that he was expected to be nominated soon for the position was first reported by Politico Saturday. The Washington, D.C.-based news site also reported that with Hubbard out of consideration, “the Trump administration is essentially starting from scratch in filling the key spot.”

Continue Reading

Early Learning Indiana Awards $100,000 In Education Grants

Early Learning Indiana gave $100,000 in grants to pre-k programs around the state. (photo credit: Rachel Morello/StateImpact Indiana)

Early Learning Indiana gave $100,000 in grants to Pre-K programs around the state. (photo credit: Rachel Morello/StateImpact Indiana)

Early Learning Indiana is awarding $100,000 in grants to groups across the state that educate young children.

The nonprofit group announced Thursday that four different providers would each receive $25,000 for early learning efforts, including pre-kindergarten programs.

Early Learning Indiana President and CEO Ted Maple says early education has numerous benefits for young children.

“When children learn to take turns, learn to control their impulses, learn to work in groups, learn to interact with their peers, they will benefit not just in a pre-K experience, not just in kindergarten, but for many years to come,” Maple says.

The recipients include Ready to Grow St. Joe, in the South Bend area, and the Southern Indiana Early Care and Education Guiding Team. Forward Wayne County, Human Capital Pipeline was also a recipient. So was Success By 6, which operates near Terre Haute.

The grants are funded by a $20 million contribution the Lilly Endowment made to Early Learning Indiana in 2014.

The money will be used over the next year to pay for staff costs, promotion campaigns and planning.

Lindsey Wright contributed to this story.

Ball State To Increase Student Teaching At Muncie Schools

Members of the State Board of Education will decide whether or not to earmark funds to support some of Indiana’s formerly failing public schools. (Alexander McCall/WFIU News)

Ball State’s teacher program will increase its student teachers at Muncie Community Schools. Rather than putting student teachers at a few schools, they will now be at all Muncie schools. (photo credit: Alex McCall/WFIU)

Ball State University is reaching out to the financially distressed Muncie Community Schools, but not to offer financial help. The two will instead partner to increase teaching education in the city of Muncie.

“We desire to better fully invest with MCS,” said a representative with Ball State University’s Teachers College at a May Muncie Community Schools Board of Trustees meeting.  “We’ve had a strong presence here as what we call a professional development school in 1998 and we want to continue to strengthen that.”

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Report: Indiana’s Preschool Program Is Making Improvements

A federal report released Wednesday ranks Indiana's state funded preschool program as one of the worst in country, because it doesn't serve more than 10 percent of the preschool aged population.

A federal report released Wednesday ranks Indiana’s state-funded preschool program as one of the worst in country because it doesn’t serve more than 10 percent of the preschool aged population. (photo credit: Sonia Hooda / Flickr)

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) released its 2016 State Preschool Yearbook Wednesday, which shows Indiana’s early childhood education efforts don’t match those of other states, but recent legislation shows improvements in how the state funds preschool.

The NIEER report rates a state’s program based on class size, teacher credentials, meal and standards, among others. Of the 10 criteria NIEER says quality programs have, Indiana meets one: having high quality standards that are culturally aligned.

Indiana is tied with Arizona in the lowest score for states with preschool programs, but there are currently seven states with no program at all.

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