“That would be determined by the State Board of Education and the panels the superintendent and Department of Education have put together,” says Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, the bill’s author. “This is the concept we want to shoot for.”
But Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, expressed concern Indiana would need to bring in an outside entity to make that determination.
Education standards are endlessly debated by lots of different people, including teachers, school districts, parents and politicians. States consult with experts, but specific expectations are often set by the legislature.
The end result can be textbooks larded with more material than teachers can hope to get to in the course of a year.
“It’s impossible to cover all that content with any depth and rigor,” says Kathleen Porter-Magee, a policy fellow at the Fordham Institute, a conservative education think tank. ”Teachers have to decide what they’re going to teach, but if that’s the case, what is the point of the standards?” Continue Reading →
A higher business personal property tax, argues economist Scott Drenkard, would incentivize a bank in need of an ATM, for example, to "hire a bank teller — even though it doesn't make any economic sense."
StateImpact is featuring conversations with experts from two national think-tanks on the state’s proposed business personal property tax cut. Read our interview with an economist who opposes the cut here.
Imagine a bank, economist Scott Drenkard says, that wants to purchase an ATM machine.
In Drenkard’s hypothetical example, the ATM costs $30,000 per year to buy and maintain. It’s also business equipment, meaning the bank will have to pay Indiana’s business personal property tax on that ATM.
What’s the alternative?
“Hire a bank teller for $30,500 a year,” Drenkard says. “If the business personal property tax is higher than $500 a year, you’re going to hire the bank teller even though it doesn’t make any economic sense” — after all, the teller won’t dispense bills at any hour of any day of the week.
Drenkard, an economist at the right-leaning Tax Foundation, uses the example to illustrate his central point: personal property taxes create barriers to buying the equipment businesses need to be successful and, ultimately, stimulate growth in the broader economy. Continue Reading →
Business equipment tax revenue pays for many of the same school district expenses property taxes fund, such as busing.
StateImpact is featuring conversations with experts from two national think-tanks on the state’s proposed business personal property tax cut. Read our interview with an economist who opposes the cuthere.
“It’s just part of a broader trend,” says state budget and tax expert Michael Mazerov, “of believing that reducing business taxes is something that will significantly boost state economic growth.”
“But,” Mazerov adds bluntly, “it won’t work.”
Mazerov, a senior fellow at the non-partisan but left-leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, calls Indiana’s plans to cut its business personal property tax “penny-wise” and “pound-foolish,” arguing the move would harm local governments and schools while not substantially helping the economy. Continue Reading →
State education officials announced Thursday a plan to give districts more flexibility in how they make up days missed because of snow or ice.
“As Hoosiers, we always expect harsh winter weather,” state superintendent Glenda Ritz said in a statement. “However, this year’s storms have been extreme and have interrupted instruction for schools throughout the state.” Continue Reading →
Hannah Reinoehl, a kindergarten teacher at East Side Elementary in Brazil, uses sign language to help her students review letter sounds.
Today and tomorrow state education officials will meet in Indianapolis to hash out the details of Indiana’s next academic standards.
Indiana is on track to become the first state to pull out of a national initiative to share academic standards known as the Common Core. State lawmakers want Indiana-specific expectations for students.
It’s rare that academic expectations get as much attention as they have here in Indiana — but for the average parent or interested outsider, it’s hard to have an opinion on a debate that’s so full of jargon and nuance.
Don’t worry. We’re here to help. If you feel like you’re swimming in edu-lingo, read through this post. We hope at the end, you’ll be able to make sense of the standards debate that’s coming soon — and that you’ll maybe even be able to have an opinion on what standards the state should adopt next.
Okay, so I keep hearing all this talk about “Common Core standards” — but I don’t even know what academic standards are.
Simply put, academic standards are expectations for what students should know and learn at each grade level. So a second grade math standard might call for students to estimate length in inches, feet, centimeters and meters. Or a sixth grade literature standard could ask how an author develops the narrator’s point of view in a text. Continue Reading →
“Reducing childhood poverty is not only a state goal of our administration, but a goal all of us share,” Pence told the Senate Education Committee. “I’ve come to conclude we will not succeed in this fight if we don’t deal with the problem that too many students don’t do well in school because they begin their academic careers unprepared to learn.”
Members of the panel will vote on the pre-K proposal next week and whether Pence’s comments will be enough to sway fiscal conservatives in his own party remains to be seen.
The current proposal calls for a small-scale preschool pilot program for — the bill’s authors say — 1,000 students in five counties, and funding wouldn’t kick in until the 2015 fiscal year. But Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, wanted to know if passing the proposal would commit the legislature to funding it. Continue Reading →
Screenshot from College Board / Edited by StateImpact
This graphic shows the distribution of Indiana students' scores on the AP exams they took relative to the states that border Indiana.
More than twice as many Indiana students took an Advanced Placement exam in 2013 than in 2003, but the percentage of the state’s students scoring high enough to earn college credit still lags the national average.
That’s one takeaway from a report released Tuesday by officials at the organization that administers AP tests to high schoolers across the country.
The graphic above tells much of the story: smaller proportions of Indiana students are earning scores of 3, 4 or 5 on the exam — the scores that are generally good enough for college credit — than in neighboring Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan or Ohio.
The part of the story the graphic does not tell, however, is that larger percentages of Hoosier high schoolers are taking AP exams than in the four states bordering Indiana. Continue Reading →