Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Indianapolis Charter Carpe Diem Will Expand To Three Schools

Roughly half of a Carpe Diem student's day is spent in the "learning center" working online. School leaders say teachers review data about student progress and use it to shape the in-classroom lessons that occupy the other half of a student's day.

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

Roughly half of a Carpe Diem student's day is spent in the "learning center" working online. School leaders say teachers review data about student progress and use it to shape the in-classroom lessons that occupy the other half of a student's day.

The Indiana Charter School Board approved Monday an expansion plan for the Indianapolis charter school Carpe Diem.

Carpe Diem, a blended learning school, uses traditional instruction alongside digital lessons. The current school is on Meridian Street in Indianapolis, and the two new schools that are a part of the expansion will be in Northeast and Northwest Indianapolis.

Hayleigh Colombo of Chalkbeat Indiana reports that these new schools were always expected to open: Continue Reading

Pence: School Accountability Must Go On, Despite Ritz’s Proposal

Governor Mike Pence is not supporting Glenda Ritz's proposal to freeze accountability after this spring's testing.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images (File)

Governor Mike Pence is not supporting Glenda Ritz's proposal to freeze accountability after this spring's testing.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released Friday, Governor Mike Pence said Indiana will not freeze school accountability after implementing a new ISTEP+ this spring, a plan proposed by state superintendent Glenda Ritz.

As we reported last week, legal counsel for the State Board of Education was investigating the legality of Ritz’s proposal. After announcing the state would need to adapt the ISTEP+ to the state’s new standards, Ritz suggested the State Board of Education consider freezing accountability for schools and teachers, so they have time to adapt to the changes without being punished for bad scores.  Continue Reading

New Indiana Standards Mean A New Test, So How Do We Get There?

Standardized Test

biologycorner / Flickr

Indiana students will take a standardized test aligned with the state's new academic standards this spring.

For the last few years, third through eighth graders in Indiana took the ISTEP+ exam in the spring to measure student performance. But when Indiana chose to not use Common Core standards and develop its own set of standards, the assessment portion of the equation remained unsolved.

Last week, state superintendent Glenda Ritz said after talking with the U.S. Department of Education regarding the state’s condition on its No Child Left Behind waiver, some sort of assessment that matches the new standards must be administered this spring.

To some, this was a surprise announcement. But looking at the issue as a whole, this has been a long time coming. Continue Reading

Could Indiana Put Teacher Accountability On Pause?

Indiana students may be required to take a new state test in spring 2015.

Sorcha O'Neill (flickr)

Indiana teachers may be required to teach to a new state test in spring 2015.

At a panel discussion today, State Board of Education legal counsel explained the process to pause accountability after the state’s new standardized tests go into effect this spring.

As we reported last week, a new assessment linked to Indiana’s new standards must be fully operational this spring, to keep the state’s No Child Left Behind waiver.

Indiana’s teacher accountability system will need to adjust to a brand-new test - and State Superintendent Glenda Ritz has suggested giving it time to do so.

As Ritz explained in a guest column for nwitimes.com, when she told the State Board of Education about the new test, she predicted a drop in scores, and as such recommended the board suspend consequences of teacher evaluations.
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Study: No Child Left Behind May Benefit Teachers

No Child Left Behind, the law that holds states and schools accountable for for student performance, is regarded by many as a negative component of public education today.

Most teachers think No Child Left Behind legislation actually makes their work easier, researchers found.

Doug Leany (flickr)

Most teachers think No Child Left Behind legislation actually makes their work easier, researchers found.

A study released Tuesday through the American Educational Research Association says the law may benefit teachers.

Most teachers think the law actually makes their work easier, researchers found. Educators report feeling more in control of their classrooms, more supported by parents and school administrators, and overall more satisfied with their jobs since the law took hold.

Studies also find that NCLB has made teachers better at what they do, leading them to devote more classroom time to core subjects and spend more time searching for better instructional strategies. And researchers say the correlation to improve student performance makes sense. Continue Reading

State Court Rules Against Franklin Township Busing Fees

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled against a Marion County school district Thursday, saying it violated the state constitution by indirectly charging fees for students to ride buses to school.

Franklin Township School Corporation decided to implement busing fees in response to cuts in funding from the state.

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Franklin Township School Corporation decided to implement busing fees in response to cuts in funding from the state.

The Franklin Township Community School Corporation eliminated free bus service for the 2011-2012 school year, in an attempt to reduce financial losses. The district contracted busing services to a private firm, who instituted an annual fee. Families could either pay a fee of $40 to $50 per student each month to ride buses or provide their own transportation to school.

At the time, administrators said this was the only way to regain a $16 milion shortfall caused by statewide property tax caps.

The fees spurred a lawsuit from a Franklin Township parent, and the case made its way to the state Court of Appeals. The Associated Press reports the court ruled that Indiana state law and the state’s constitution prohibit school districts and their contractors from charging transportation fees for general education. Districts are allowed to charge for transportation if it involves extracurricular activities. Continue Reading

Indianapolis Teachers Propose Overhaul Of IPS Pay System

Several Indianapolis Public School teachers have proposed modifications for their next contract to change the way they’re paid.

A group of Indianapolis Public School teachers and Teach Plus fellows have outlined their ideas to change they way they get paid.

Dondu.Small (flickr)

A group of Indianapolis Public School teachers and Teach Plus fellows have outlined their ideas to change they way they get paid.

In coordination with Teach Plus, an organization that aims to get teachers involved in education policy, a group of IPS fellows have released a brief suggesting several changes for their next teacher contract. They say their goal is to keep the district on budget while also providing incentives to draw and retain top talent.

“[We] believe that there are opportunities for dramatic policy changes that will elevate the teaching profession in a new way,” the group said in a statement. “Excellent teachers can take on additional roles and responsibilities to earn more compensation, develop as leaders, and be the change-agents in Indianapolis Public Schools.”

Teacher pay statewide has become less competitive over the last decade. Between 2003 and 2013, Indiana public school teachers saw their average salaries fall 12.3 percent, compared to a national average of 3.2 percent, according to a report by the National Education Association.

The NEA estimates the average teacher in Indiana earns a little more than $50,000 annually.

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Oklahoma, South Carolina Join Indiana In Exiting Common Core

Oklahoma became the third state to repeal the Common Core State Standards Thursday.

Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina recently signed a bill to replace Common Core in her state.

USC Upstate (flickr)

Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina recently signed a bill to replace Common Core in her state.

Governor Mary Fallin signed legislation to replace the Common Core with new guidelines to be designed by the State Board of Education by August 2016. This comes on the heels of a similar move in South Carolina, where Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill last week requiring her state to implement new standards for the 2015-16 school year.

Indiana became the first state to exit the national initiative when Governor Mike Pence signed legislation dropping the standards in March.

Other states are trying to back out, too. A bill to withdraw currently waits for approval on the governor’s desk in Missouri. State legislatures across the country have already introduced about 100 bills this year to slow, stop or reverse Common Core requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

But a big question for all of these states, one Indiana has been grappling with since its exit is how are they supposed to make sure their standards are nothing like the Common Core?

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Report: School Counselors Are Underutilized And Overworked

Julie Baumgart is one of three school counselors at Western Boone Jr./Sr. High School, and says counselors are pulled in many different directions.

Claire McInerny / StateImpact Indiana

Julie Baumgart is one of three school counselors at Western Boone Jr./Sr. High School, and says counselors are pulled in many different directions.

Can you explain the job of a school counselor?

If you ask that question regarding anyone else in a school- a teacher, the principal, nurse or custodian- the answer is pretty straightforward: Teach students, manage the school, attend health needs and maintain cleanliness.

But a counselor’s job can vary from school to school, and many have duties ranging from creating student schedules, proctoring ISTEP exams, lunch duty and even managing the school’s mascot costume.

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Feds Require New Standardized Test To Keep NCLB Waiver

Ritz announced a new, more rigorous assessment will debut this spring, surprising many State Board of Education members.

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

Ritz announced a new, more rigorous assessment will debut this spring, surprising many State Board of Education members.

Indiana students must take an assessment that tests their knowledge of the new state standards next spring if the state wants to keep its No Child Left Behind waiver, state superintendent Glenda Ritz told the State Board of Education on Wednesday.

Ritz said after phone calls with the U.S. Department of Education regarding getting the state in compliance to extend its No Child Left Behind waiver, U.S. Department of Education officials said a spring test in 2015 must be fully operational in order for the state to keep the waiver.

Last month the state received a letter from the U.S. Department of Education putting a condition on its waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements. The waiver allows the state to have flexibility with millions of dollars of federal money.

The news of the testing requirement came as a surprise to many board members. The state is transitioning away from Common Core standards to new Indiana State Standards, and the previous plan was to give the current ISTEP test along with another test that would be specific to the new standards, to try it out as a pilot.  Continue Reading

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