Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Not 'Slowing Down,' Bennett Calls For More State Intervention Authority

    State education chief Tony Bennett wants the Indiana Department of Education stepping in to help failing schools much earlier — and he wants state law to be changed to compel earlier, more “proactive” interventions.

    Carolyn Harless/WFIU

    State superintendent Tony Bennett (center) answers a question from the audience about the state's intervention in George Washington Community High School in Indianapolis Wednesday with state school turnaround director Jim Larson (left) looking on.

    Bennett said so at a community meeting about the state’s takeover of T.C. Howe Community High School Wednesday night in Indianapolis, one of seven Indiana schools facing intervention after six consecutive years on the state’s failing schools list.

    Bennett told the roughly 65 community members in attendance the state cannot offer any “technical assistance” to schools it rates as failing until it’s been on academic probation for four years. Bennett says that’s too long.

    As we’ve reported, there are five schools which have been on academic probation four or five years straight. After the fifth year receiving this failing rating, state law compels the state to either take over the school, close it, or bring in outside groups to help turn the school around.

    Bennett told StateImpact after meeting Wednesday that he has no desire to slow down his push for more school accountability laws, even after state takeovers this year.

    “We don’t really as adults have the time to say ‘let’s compromise their educational experiences.’ So we’re going to push for improved accountability standards in the General Assembly, and we hope to provide proactive interventions sometime in the future,” Bennett said.


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