Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Teens Working Part-Time Jobs Down Significantly Since 1970s

The number of teens working a part-time job has dropped significantly since the late 1990s. Education experts say a part-time job can give students a competitive edge when it comes to college admissions, but they’re also expected to volunteer, participate in clubs, and more, all while keeping their grades up.


There’s no wasted space in Nicole Klee’s locker. Klee is a junior at Franklin Central High school. “This is my AP chem binder,” she says. “It doesn’t fully fit because it’s too big.” Klee has a full schedule. She’s a soccer player, participates in student council, and takes several advanced classes.

Read more at: indianapublicmedia.org

Muncie Schools Managers: Staff Cuts Will Continue

Standing in front of the Distressed Unit Appeals Board in Indianapolis, Administrator Assistance founder Steve Wittenauer praised the administration at Muncie Community Schools for already making some significant cuts to staffing. But he says that will have to continue.

“They did a lot of the heavy lifting. We’re probably to the point now where it’s going to become more painful because staffing reductions are still in order,” Wittenauer says. “But they were very, very successful in their staffing reductions. And certainly closing those three buildings had an impact.”


Muncie Community Schools’ emergency management team has told a state board that more staff will need to be cut at the district. As IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports, MCS is still trying to find enough money to pay bills through the end of the year.

Read more at: indianapublicradio.org

Proposed Graduation Requirements Begin To Take Shape

State Board of Education member Byron Ernest, chairman of the board's graduation pathways committee, explains possible pathways during a meeting Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017 at the  Indiana State Library. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

State Board of Education member Byron Ernest, chairman of the board’s graduation pathways committee, explains possible pathways during a meeting Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017 at the Indiana State Library. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

Members of a State Board of Education committee tasked with proposing new ways for students to qualify for graduation began sketching their plan Tuesday.

There’s still a lot for the dozen-plus members to sort out before their last meeting next month.

But a list of nine alternative ways students could become eligible for a diploma has begun to take shape. It includes: earning industry-recognized credentials; passing the military entrance exam plus enlisting; and work-based learning with job experience.

“We came a long way today, I hope you agree,” says state board member Byron Ernest, who is leading the committee. “But we’ve got a long way to go.”

Students are currently required to pass math and English end of course exam to graduate with a Core 40 or Honors diploma.

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East Chicago School Children Take Lead Testing Into Own Hands

Naomi Caseras, an eighth grader at East Chicago Urban Enterprise Academy, was one of the students whose samples were tested. Hers came back negative. (Annie Ropeik/IPB News)

Naomi Caseras, an eighth grader at East Chicago Urban Enterprise Academy, was one of the students whose samples were tested. Hers came back negative. (Annie Ropeik/IPB News)

Children at the East Chicago Urban Enterprise Academy school learned how to test air, water, and soil samples for lead Tuesday with help from the NAACP.

The school sits right across the street from the USS Lead Superfund site, a federal toxic waste clean-up site contaminated with lead and arsenic.

Principal Veronica Eskew says the lead testing let her students take ownership over how lead poisoning affects them.

“Giving them the opportunity to have a voice, to have a better understanding of what is happening in their environment, was heart-stopping for me,” she says.

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Carmel Clay Superintendent Placed On Leave Pending Review

“The board is undertaking a thorough review of its district leadership and believes that its action today will enable it to complete this review more quickly and in a manner that respects the confidentiality of its employees’ personnel matters,” Spanenberg said at the start of a work session at the district office. “Because of these confidentiality concerns, the board will not make further comment on this until it has finished its review.”


Carmel Clay Schools Superintendent Nicholas Wahl was placed on administrative leave Monday following an executive meeting of the school board. Board President Layla Spanenberg declined to offer reasons behind the board’s decision.

Read more at: www.wfyi.org

Most A-Rated IPS Schools Are Independent Of District Policies

PLA @ Francis Scott Key School 103 is on the city's Far Eastside. The schools earned an A from the state for 2017. (Indianapolis Public Schools)

PLA @ Francis Scott Key School 103 is on the city\’s Far Eastside. The schools earned an A from the state for 2017. (Indianapolis Public Schools)

Three years ago School 103 on the Far Eastside was struggling, more than most city schools. Few students were learning at grade level and the state would soon consider intervention.

In response, Indianapolis Public Schools Board used a new law that allows struggling schools to contract with a charter school company and run independently of district policies.  The board has ultimate oversight of the schools.

School 103’s new manager, Phalen Leadership Academies, was given freedom to remake the school’s curriculum and set staff expectations without a union-negotiated contract.

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Lawmakers Want Options To Aid Financially Struggling School Corps

Indiana's Legislative Services Agency, a bipartisan legal analysis group, created a possible dashboard-style system that could use various financial indicators to weigh a school corporation's fiscal health. (Photo courtesy of Legislative Services Agency)

Indiana\’s Legislative Services Agency, a bipartisan legal analysis group, created a possible dashboard-style system that could use various financial indicators to weigh a school corporation\’s fiscal health. (Photo courtesy of Legislative Services Agency)

State lawmakers want to figure out how to identify and help school corporations before they fall into financial distress.

Monday a study committee heard about possible ways to evaluate a district’s income and debt.

The state’s Legislative Services Agency, a bipartisan legal analysis group, offered different indicators and methods to analyze those indicators, such as outstanding bond debt and income, to figure out if a district is fiscally sound or trending into trouble.

The analysis, the LSA report says, could be used as an early warning system for school corporations that may be heading toward financial distress.

The report found that 40 percent of public school corporations operate with deficits. The largest deficit found is 34 percent of the district’s total expenditures.

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2017 Indiana School Grades: More As, Fewer Bs

A teacher and students work at Indianapolis Public Schools' Meredith Nicholson School 96. (Photo courtesy of IPS)

A teacher and students work at Indianapolis Public Schools’ Meredith Nicholson School 96. (Photo courtesy of IPS)

The State Board of Education approved school A-F grades for the 2016-2017 school year Wednesday. It reports an increase in the number of schools receiving As and fewer receiving Bs.

Yet the overall percent of schools that received As and Bs is the nearly the same as last year.

State Superintendent Jeniffer McCormick warned that “celebrating” the continued high number of top tier schools would be premature. Next year Indiana schools will face a change in accountability due to new federal education policy.

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Restauranteur Establishing Learning Gardens At Indy Schools

Kimbal Musk, brother of Elon the CEO of Tesla, is entrepreneur and restaurateur. (WFYI News)

Kimbal Musk, brother of Elon the CEO of Tesla, is entrepreneur and restaurateur. (WFYI News)

Farm-to-table restaurateur Kimbal Musk, brother of Tesla founder Elon Musk, is a quarter of the way to his goal of establishing 100 “learning gardens” at Indianapolis schools to fight obesity and related health threats.

“Today, kids see food either as coming from a McDonald’s box or out of plastic wrap,” Musk says. “They have no idea that it actually comes out of the ground. And by exposing kids to the growing of a carrot, and all they see is a little green sprout – and when they pull a carrot out – it’s like a magic trick,” he smiles.

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Most School Districts Not Participating In Lead Testing Program

Jim McGoff, environmental programs director for the Indiana Finance Authority, testifies before the interim environmental affairs legislative committee. (Nick Janzen/IPB News)

Jim McGoff, environmental programs director for the Indiana Finance Authority, testifies before the interim environmental affairs legislative committee. (Nick Janzen/IPB News)

Fewer than half of Indiana’s public school districts are participating in a free lead testing program, according to Jim McGoff, environmental programs director at the Indiana Finance Authority.

The IFA created the voluntary program after lead contamination in places such as Flint, Michigan, and East Chicago, Indiana, rose to national prominence.

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