The bill would have allowed school districts to assemble a group of school and community members to help turnaround schools that receive an F six years in a row under the state’s A-F accountability system.
During the Senate Education Committee meeting Wednesday, members approved amendments proposed by Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, which eliminated much of the transformation zone language and shifted the focus of the bill.
Currently, turnaround schools are paired with a third party partner to help improve student performance, but after an Evansville school district found success with the transformation zone model, other districts wanted a chance to use that model.
The newly amended bill now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee and then the full Senate. The House approved the original bill last month.
Brother Jesus Alonso is an administrator at Holy Cross College in South Bend, and advocates for resources to help undocumented students go to college. (Photo Credit: Claire McInerny/StateImpact Indiana)
One afternoon on his way to work, Juan Constantino’s headlight went out.
“I had no idea,” Constantino recounts. “A cop pulled a U-turn, pulled me over he said, ‘do you know why I pulled you over?’”
If Constantino were like most students, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. He probably would have been let off with a warning and told to get his light fixed. But Constantino isn’t like most students. He’s undocumented and that means he didn’t have a driver’s license.
Constantino was charged with a misdemeanor. His family gathered the money quickly and posted his bail. Constantino went home, finished his homework and went to school the next day.
For undocumented students like Constantino, the threat of deportation is always present, and creates barriers to receiving an education.
The State Board of Education approved a transition plan for two failing schools in Indianapolis Public Schools. photo credit: Indianapolis Public Schools
The State Board of Education today approved a transition plan for Arlington High School to return to Indianapolis Public Schools and for the district to partner with a charter school company to run a new K-6 program.
IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee had sought to fully recover the school from the state, but the board has remained unmoved to release its control.
Board member Tony Walker raised concern that IPS would not have a contract with the board, like other companies who oversee failing schools in state intervention. But board members pushed forward saying they trusted Ferebee. Continue Reading →
The subject received a majority of the attention at the board’s March meeting – the first chance members had to discuss proposed contracts for the companies the Department of Administration recommended to create different parts of the state’s assessment system.
Members of the State Board of Education will meet Wednesday in Indianapolis. (Photo Credit: Rachel Morello/StateImpact Indiana)
The total estimated cost of those contracts – about $134 million – ruffled some feathers, and although State Superintendent Glenda Ritz generally agreed with board colleagues that the price tag was too high, it became evident that finding a compromise might pose problems.
In response, board member Sarah O’Brien released a proposal to cut costs and trim time off the test. She will present her resolution to the full board Wednesday, which she says will come in at around $86 million.
Ritz put out her own set of recommendations just a few days later, in an updated budget presentation for the Department of Education before the Senate Appropriations Committee. She told the group she could cut costs even further – down to about $75 million – with the elimination of IREAD-3 and other annual tests.
The board will need to decide Wednesday under what criteria they will authorize the development of the 2015-16 ISTEP+, a process that many would like to see happen as soon as possible to avoid the problems the state experienced this spring.
Purdue President and former governor Mitch Daniels has not commented on the law, and a spokesperson for Daniels said “it is a long-standing policy of our Trustees that institutionally, we are not to take part in public debates of this kind.”
Michael McRobbie, Indiana University President
“For its part, Indiana University remains steadfast in our longstanding commitment to value and respect the benefits of a diverse society. It is a fundamental core value of our culture at Indiana University and one that we cherish. Indeed, in 2014 the trustees of Indiana University reaffirmed our commitment to the achievement of equal opportunity within the university. Continue Reading →
Around the country, more states’ legislatures are discussing measures to give parents and students the chance to seek out alternatives in education – be they private schools, voucher money or charter schools. Meanwhile, Congressional efforts to rewrite the federal No Child Left Behind law this year have “opened a wider discussion about the federal government’s role in schools,” versus how much power belongs to the states and local schools. The conversation is further complicated by concerns about the widespread implementation of common academic standards and standardized tests.
Indiana currently has the largest voucher program in the county, in addition to a robust charter school presence.
A growing number of statehouses are considering measures that would allow school districts, parents and students increasingly to use taxpayer funds to explore alternatives to traditional state-backed public education. The flurry of new bills-which range from supporting private-school options to putting education dollars directly into parents’ hands-come amid concerns of increasing federal overreach in schools and a backlash against…
Senate lawmakers continued an ongoing conversation Wednesday about how the state handles schools in jeopardy.
Schools receiving six consecutive failing grades could face state intervention. (Photo Credit: amboo who/Flickr)
The Senate Committee on Education & Career Development tweaked House Bill 1638, a measure which suggests a number of changes to the repercussions for failing schools.
Original bill language in would have allowed the state to take over entire school corporations, rather than just individual schools. Committee members approved an amendment to eliminate that section.
This is sure to please Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, who shared his concerns about this section with the Times of Northwest Indiana earlier this week:
Smith said Gary and Indianapolis schools are the only two corporations in the state that have had schools taken over.
“My concern is that if you have a school like Gary where there are three schools which have an A, and two other schools with a B and a C, why take over the whole district,” he said. “There is no great effort to get to the root of the problem or to assist. They just want to move forward and take over the entire district.”
Elements of the bill that remain intact include shrinking the timeline for state intervention. Currently, state officials must design a plan for any school receiving failing school accountability grades (D’s or F’s) for six consecutive years; the bill recommends bringing that number down to four.
Franklin Township Superintendent Flora Reichanadter said she does not expect schools to now drop transportation because they can. The judgement, she said, clarifies for schools what is and is not a constitutional right in public education.
“We just wanted to have the ability to resolve the whole issue ‒ if we were performing in an unconstitutional way or not,” she said. “I also think it provides clarity to school districts across the state because there are some districts, like Speedway for example, that have walk zones. It provides definition, if you have students walking to school in way to get there safely ‒ do you have to provide transportation in a climate where financial resources are limited.” Continue Reading →
A Carpe Diem student logs into a computer in the school’s “learning center,” where each student has his or her own workstation. photo credit: Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana
As education moves into the digital age, so does data about the students using technology.
From homework and lessons on the web, Google Classroom and standardized tests moving online, a lot of information about a K-12 student lives on the Internet. That fact has long worried parents and educators, and now U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., is attempting to rectify it at the federal level.
Along with Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., Messer wrote a bill addressing the issue of student data privacy. Messer and Polis had planned to introduce the bill in the House Monday, but delayed following criticism that the bill doesn’t do enough to protect student data.
Currently, student data is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a law enacted in 1974. It applies to institutions like schools and universities and the records they oversee, but doesn’t apply to the current system of education where third party companies hired by schools own student data.
When a school district hires online textbook companies or other ed-tech companies, those groups gain a lot of information about students. According to Fred Cate, Director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research at Indiana University, there’s really only one reason a company would want access to student data.
“Nine times out of 10 the reason someone wants data is for marketing,” Cate says. “It’s really for targeting who you’re marketing to or what you’re marketing to them. So if I run a testing service or an online publisher or whatever and I can identify students by what they’re interested in, I can identify them by their proficiency, how well they do, I then know what to market to them.” Continue Reading →
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