Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

6 Questions To Ask About The Purdue-Kaplan Deal

Purdue President Mitch Daniels Mitch Daniels on discusses the creation of a new public university. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood).

Purdue President Mitch Daniels Mitch Daniels on discusses the creation of a new public university. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood)

So, there’s been some big news going around the higher education world this past week. In a nutshell: Indiana’s Purdue University will acquire the for-profit Kaplan University, which operates primarily online.

Since this news broke, there’s been plenty of speculation about what it means when a public research university acquires a for-profit entity: Is this a way for a public research university to reach more students? Is this a way that a for-profit college can operate in “stealth mode?”

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After Years Of Second Chances, Indiana Online School Remains Chronically Failing

Anna Allman laughs with daughter Piper as they review German language words as part of Piper’s Hoosier Virtual Academy foreign language course at the Mooresville Public Library on April 18, 2017. Allman says she’d be devastated if the school was closed because “individual students that are being positively impacted -- such as our family.” (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

Anna Allman laughs with daughter Piper as they review German language words as part of Piper’s Hoosier Virtual Academy foreign language course at the Mooresville Public Library on April 18, 2017. Allman says she’d be devastated if the school was closed because “individual students that are being positively impacted — such as our family.” (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

Hoosier Academies Virtual School was near the brink of closure by the Indiana State Board of Education in March 2015 when the board opted for a one-year delay on casting a verdict.

Then, there was a call for another delay.

Now, more than two years since Indiana’s first online charter school became eligible for state intervention due to chronic failure, the state board will consider whether to shutter it or take a less severe type of intervention during a meeting Wednesday in Evansville.

“It’s unfortunate it’s been this many years,” says recently elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction and board chair Jennifer McCormick about the school’s ongoing academic failures. “But it is what it is and we have to take some action.”

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AP Report: International Student Applications Fall In Age Of Trump

Indiana University. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Indiana University. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Colleges in the United States are ramping up efforts to welcome students from overseas to address worries the country is becoming less friendly to outsiders.

Dozens of schools have produced new online videos as part of a national campaign called “You Are Welcome Here.” Purdue University sent its international applicants an email from two mayors touting Indiana’s hospitality. The president of Portland State University in Oregon visited students in India to ease concerns.

Some colleges say President Donald Trump’s remarks about Muslims and other groups have sent an uninviting message to students overseas.

Data obtained by The Associated Press in response to public records request show nearly half the nation’s 25 largest public universities saw undergraduate applications from abroad fall or stagnate since last year.

It’s too early to know how many international students will enroll next fall, but colleges say any loss could hurt campus diversity and tuition revenue.

There is evidence that enrollment figures among international students at some U.S. colleges and universities could drop next fall, and some experts and college officials blame President Donald Trump’s stance on immigration and the perception of a nation that is becoming less friendly to foreigners. Nearly half the nation’s 25 largest public universities saw undergraduate applications from abroad fall or stagnate since last year, according to data colleges provided to The Associated Press in response to public records requests. Eight schools did not provide data, while six saw gains.

Indiana University and Purdue University enrollment numbers were included in the report.

In 2016, 5,156 international students applied to IU, and in 2017 5,414 enrolled, a five percent increase. This is one of the highest increases of the schools featured in the AP report, which includes many large, state schools.

Purdue had an international enrollment of 14,949 last year, and 13,320 this year.

Some application deadlines fell before the election, but even Trump’s campaign rhetoric cast doubts, experts say. Schools with no data did not respond to the AP’s records request.

New Law Creates More Suicide Prevention Efforts Statewide

The Indiana Statehouse. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

The Indiana Statehouse. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Indiana lawmakers want schools to develop more robust suicide prevention policies while teachers get training on the issue.

Rep. Julie Olthoff’s (R-Merrilville) bill requires several new steps to create suicide prevention programs. And Olthoff says the first step is creating a statewide suicide prevention coordinator.

“And then they’ll be able to disseminate information and hopefully prevent them,” Olthoff says.

That coordinator will develop a statewide suicide prevention program. That includes training for health care providers and helping schools adjust to a new requirement: beginning next year, all teachers – grades 5-12 – must have suicide prevention training.

Youth issues advocate Mindi Goodpaster says that’s more than just identifying warning signs and addressing students at risk of suicide. It’s also how to help other students in a school environment when a suicide occurs.

“To help them understand what happened – was it my fault, was there something I could have done? – you know, how do we provide a supportive environment?” Goodpaster says.

Goodpaster adds that training can be vital to preventing the so-called “cluster effect,” where one student suicide leads to others.

Sanctuary Campuses Now Illegal Under Indiana Law

The Indiana Statehouse. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

The Indiana Statehouse. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Indiana has officially outlawed so-called sanctuary campuses, colleges and universities that pledge they won’t share anyone’s immigration status with federal authorities.

A bill signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb bans higher education institutions from officially pledging non-cooperation with immigration authorities. If one does, the state would be able to file a civil suit and a court could enjoin the institution.

A 2011 Indiana law bars cities and towns from declaring sanctuary status or interfering with immigration authorities’ work to enforce immigration laws. This now extends to the role colleges and universities might take in protecting people who entered the U.S. illegally.

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Trump Administration Rolls Back Healthy School Lunch Push

Former first lady Michelle Obama might find some of the latest actions by the Trump administration pretty difficult to stomach.

On Monday newly minted Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a rollback of school lunch standards championed by the former first lady, declaring at a Virginia school that the administration would “Make School Meals Great Again.”

The school nutrition standards have long been a source of controversy, making them a more likely target of the current administration.

Earlier Monday, CNN initially reported a more surprising cut — that the Trump White House would not continue the Let Girls Learn program in its current form. The initiative aims to provide educational opportunities for young women in developing countries.

However, administration officials later clarified that the program was not being axed.

“There have been no changes to the Let Girls Learn program. The Administration supports policies and programs to empower adolescent girls, including efforts to educate them through the completion of secondary school,” a State Department official told NPR. “We are committed to empowering women and girls around the world and are continuing to examine the best ways to do so.”

Eight Of Ten School Referenda Pass Tuesday

Ten school-related measures will appear on local ballots Tuesday. (Photo Credit: Jessica Whittle Photography/Flickr)

Districts across the state are once again asking voters to help fund public schools, with nine districts asking for property tax increases Tuesday. (Jessica Whittle Photography/Flickr)

Eight of ten school referenda passed Tuesday – an effort for districts to ask voters through a ballot referenda process to raise property taxes to help fund their schools. Basically, the ballot question asks voters to pay more in property taxes so the schools have more funding.

Primaries are much quieter than November elections, and this can bode well for referenda. May referenda often pass at a higher rate than those posed in November. Fewer voters show up, and many who do are motivated to vote because of the referendum.

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How Indiana Tracks Down And Educates Migrant Children And Workers

A student studies a sheet with fruits and vegetables in the Indiana Region 4 migrant education center's mobile classroom. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

A student studies a sheet with fruits and vegetables in the Indiana Region 4 migrant education center’s mobile classroom. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Alex Rodriguez dials an unfamiliar number on his cell phone.

“Yes?,” a voice on the other end answers. On speakerphone, the phone booms inside Rodriguez’s parked silver Ford Escape.

“This is Alex,” Rodriguez says. “I’m on the way to your home so that I can complete the enrollment for the kids.”

An estimated 3 million migrant workers travel the nation each year, following work. Depending on the season, Indiana farms employ between 2,000 and 20,000. And like anyone in the nation under 22, migrant workers and children are entitled by law to an education.

And that’s where Rodriguez comes in. He serves Indiana’s southwest region as one of Indiana’s six migrant education recruiters. His mission is simple: Find, recruit and enroll migrant children and workers for public school services.

Today he sets out from a Wal-Mart parking lot in Vincennes. It’s the closest thing he has to an office.

He often parks here and finds prospective students. After all, he says, everyone comes to Wal-Mart.

“Just a minute ago, there was a bus full of migrant workers from Mexico,” Rodriguez says with a laugh, as he pulls away. “I didn’t know they were here.”

The Indiana Department of Education runs a program specifically aimed at educating migrant workers and children. It operates across the state. Anyone under 22 qualifies for the public service if they or their family has moved for seasonal field or farmwork. Regardless of citizenship. Continue Reading

What To Know About The Indiana Pre-K Bill Signed Into Law

Indiana will expand state-funded preschool allows the program to extend to 15 new counties, ties it to the state’s private school voucher program and includes a controversial option for online preschool.  (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Indiana expands state-funded preschool, allowing the program to extend to 15 new counties, tying it to the state’s private school voucher program and including a controversial option for online preschool. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

With little fanfare, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill Wednesday that will expand Indiana’s pre-K pilot program.

The new plan will expand state-funded preschool to 20 counties, tie it to the state’s private school voucher program and include a controversial option for online preschool.

Currently, the $10 million state-funded On My Way Pre-K program serves around 2,000 low-income students in five counties. Expanding preschool access in Indiana has been a key goal of lawmakers this session, including Holcomb.

Under the new $22 million plan, any of the state’s 92 counties are eligible to compete to become one of the 15 counties included in the expansion. Lawmakers say rural counties and places with a lack of high-quality preschool providers will be prioritized.

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State Cancels 2 Schools Planned By Charter Schools USA

Charter Schools USA CEO Jonathan Hage, center, celebrates an academic recognition for Bonita Springs Charter School in Bonita Springs, Fla. in February 2017. (Credit: Charter Schools USA)

Charter Schools USA CEO Jonathan Hage, center, celebrates an academic recognition for Bonita Springs Charter School in Bonita Springs, Fla. in February 2017. (Credit: Charter Schools USA)

A state board that authorizes charter schools voted Monday to cancel plans for a group of Indianapolis business professionals to open schools in Marion and Clark counties.

The reason?

Florida-based Charter Schools USA, the would-be manager, had ceased communicating with the Indiana Charter School Board for nearly a year and missed a required deadline to identify a facility for one of the schools, according to board staff.

“Because of the inability to either meet the deadline and/or even give a reason for not meeting the deadline or trying to postpone the deadline we recommend the charters be revoked,” said James Betley, the board’s executive director, during a public meeting.

The board agreed and voted 5-0 to cancel the charters.

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