Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Our Most Engaging Education Stories Of The Year

As part of our year-end wrap up, we wanted to look at the stories that you, our readers and listeners, engaged with most. This could be a comment on our website, a share on social media, and in some situations, reaching out to each other in person.

Here’s a round up of stories that the stories that got you talking the most this year:

First Year Teachers

Gabe Hoffman

Gabe Hoffman, a first year teacher at Nora Elementary School in Indianapolis, is part of the ‘First Year’ series. (Photo Credit: Eoban Binder/ WFIU)

Our series following three new teachers through their first year was popular with you from the start. We aired the first radio pieces this summer, and since then many of you have expressed how much you enjoy following these individuals as they navigate their first year in the classroom.

Some of the more popular installments in the series: The story that focused on new teachers burning out by October was shared by many of you on Facebook, and the most recent installment that focused on supporting new teachers received more page views than any of the others.

School Funding Formula

During the 2015 budget session of Indiana’s General Assembly, a school funding formula update took center stage. When we first wrote about it, you shared and liked this story more than most funding stories.

Jorfer88 shared a common sentiment in our comments section, one we heard from many parents and teachers during the course of the legislative session:

“the money follows the student” really has nothing to do with the budget changes. All of that is reflected in the relatively small 7 year transition change (about $39 mil). The reason for it is not counting reduced meals (which I understand but on the other side they should have increased the amount per student for free lunch to compensate in complexity). It is highway robbery from poor districts that have always been at or below foundation (like FWCS) to wealthy districts (FWCS was below foundation amounts when the program was overhauled several years ago and was transitioning up which was the flip side of the IPS situation and has resulted in a lot of potential revenue that FWCS will never see). Yes, districts like IPS and Gary that were above foundation should be brought to foundation but overall funding needs to increase more than inflation. Current IPS and Gary students should not be punished for unfair funding to them in the past (Ferebee mentioned at the town hall with Tim Brown and Brian Bosma that current IPS funding is not like the past).

ISTEP+ Length

One of the most dramatic stories of the year came right at the beginning of 2015, when it became public that this year’s ISTEP+ test would almost double in length. Teachers, parents and community members were outraged – that was obvious from the comments and Facebook posts around our coverage:

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Legislature Tries To Remove Ritz As INSBOE Chair

Also during the 2015 legislative session, a bill that sat on lawmakers’ desks from day one aimed to restructure the makeup of the State Board of Education. In the first few months of session, that bill included language to remove the state superintendent as chair of the INSBOE, and instead let the board elect its own chair. This outraged many of our readers, who shared their opinions on our stories covering the bill.

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Gary commented this on our story:

I’m sure it will smooth things out,They will set the agenda,totally ignore any input she gives,as if they don’t already do that,then they can put the governors agenda full steam ahead to satisfy his donors and totally ignore the voice of the people and bypass democracy. If this is allowed to happen what will happen next? Maybe the governor could appoint Putin to host his propaganda news agency. Really Indiana,what has this state come to?

What will grab your attention in 2016?

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