Democrat State Sen. Mark Stoops of Bloomington wants the Indiana legislature to suspend its rules during a mostly ceremonial session Tuesday to pass a bill that he says will protect students and teaches from low ISTEP+ scores.
ISTEP+ test scores are used to set teacher pay and give schools a grade on the state’s A-F accountability scale. A school with too many F’s could face takeover by the state.
State education officials say ISTEP+ scores will be lower than last year due to a combination of factors, including the test’s pass/fail line set by the state Board of Education.
Stoops wants to use the General Assembly’s Organization Day to pass legislation would hold teachers and schools harmless if scores come back lower than last year.
“If we as a state and we as a legislature want to show that we really support schools, teachers and students, then we need to make sure that we correct this problem that is largely created by the state legislature,” Stoops says.
Gov. Mike Pence and state Superintendent Glenda Ritz have both called for protecting teachers from low scores, but their approaches differ.
Senate leader David Long says Ritz’s department and the State Board of Education should be able to figure out a fix without new legislation.