Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

State Board Bill Will Address Access To Data

State superintendent Glenda Ritz currently serves as the chair of the State Board of Education, but if Senate Bill 1 goes forward that would no longer be the case. (Photo Credit: Kyle Stokes/StateImpact Indiana)

State superintendent Glenda Ritz currently serves as the chair of the State Board of Education, but if Senate Bill 1 goes forward that would no longer be the case. (Photo Credit: Kyle Stokes/StateImpact Indiana)

Among the complaints State Board of Education members repeatedly lodge toward state superintendent Glenda Ritz and the Department of Education is access to certain data sets. The legislature is seeking to address that in the final days of the 2015 session.

A conference committee for Senate Bill 1 has not yet been scheduled, but legislative leaders say it will be one of the last bills finalized, as they are still working on it.

At the beginning of the session, the SBOE included data sharing as one of its legislative priorities. Board member Brad Oliver says the board currently doesn’t get full access from the IDOE to data sets like A-F grades. Senate President Pro Tem David Long says it’s this issue he and his colleagues are trying to address in SB 1.

“We’re trying to figure out a way where that information exchange at all levels is improved, and that’s the big holistic fix we’re looking at right now,” Long says. “And it’s being made after a lot of conversations – that includes with the department. We’re not pointing fingers, we’re just saying let’s fix this and fix it right.”

Oliver says the IDOE cites the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as reason for not disclosing certain information. House Speaker Brian Bosma says to make sure board members get access to all data, the legislature might try to establish the board as a “state education agency,” therefore qualifying the group to see that data.

“The State Board of Education does not fall within the current parameters for a state education agency, and that’s the stumbling block on them receiving some information,” says Speaker of the House Brian Bosma. “It’s very easy to establish them as a state education agency by statute. We’re again just trying to remove roadblocks as they crop up.”

A conference committee will be scheduled to finalize language over data sharing before next Wednesday, when the legislative session ends.

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