Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Ben Skirvin

US Secretary Of Education Opposes School Vouchers In Indiana, Supports 'Good' Charter Schools

Kyle Stokes/StateImpact Indiana

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaks in Gary earlier this year.

US Secretary Of Education Arne Duncan told Lakeshore Public Broadcasting’s Steve Walsh that he disagrees with efforts in Indiana to expand school voucher options in the state. Duncan argues the state needs to emphasize strong public school options including high quality charter schools, rather than subsidizing private schools.

“On the school vouchers question, the governor and I have absolutely agreed to disagree on that issue,” Duncan told Walsh Thursday.

Duncan did praise a push towards expansion of charter schools in Indiana. However, this commendation came with a caveat.

Continue Reading

Why You Might End Up With A Charter School In Your Neighborhood Whether You Want One Or Not

A law the Indiana State General Assembly passed last year allows charter school operators to pick up unused school property for $1 and charter schools operators have not been shy about hunting these schools down.

Blue dots represent schools which have closed in the last 4 years. Red markers indicate schools available to charter schools for $1.
Source: Indiana Department of Education

Emily Pelino heads a number of Knowledge Is Power Program or KIPP charters in Indianapolis. She says her company is looking to update the school’s existing building arrangement and further increase its presence in Indianapolis and throughout Indiana. Continue Reading

Should Legislators Be Debating The Future Of Indiana Basketball?

Who cares about right to work?  Let’s talk about the important issues like single class basketball tournaments.

State lawmakers who want to force a return to Indiana’s old single-class high school basketball tournament said Wednesday the Legislature should have a role in that decision because of the tourney’s decades-long cultural importance.

Read more at:

One Of The Oldest School Districts In Indiana Closes Due To Funding Cuts

New Harmony School was opened more than 200 years ago as part of an experiment to create a utopian community. At the center of that experiment was the idea that quality education is part of happiness. In some ways, that grand test has finally ended.  Following a 30 percent cut in state funding, one of Indiana’s oldest districts will cease operation by the end of the school year.

Continue Reading

Through Their Eyes: Budget Cuts In Their Schools, But Not Always On Their Mind

Elenore Fuqua

Eleanore Fuqua is a high school journalist at Bloomington South High School in Bloomington, Indiana

In the politics of education, the most talked about group of people is often the least listened too. To remedy this situation, StateImpact turned to Bloomington South High School journalist Eleanore Fuqua to find out what students are thinking about about the current legislative session. Here’s her guest post:

Two summers ago, politics and state legislation made a blip on the radar of many high school students in Indiana. News of drastic cuts in education funds reached Bloomington, threatening both the teachers and programs we held so dear. Within our school system alone, $5.8 million was set to be sliced away from the annual budget, manifesting itself in the form of 75 lost jobs, reduced extra-curriculars (including sports), and a spike in class size.

Continue Reading

Map: What Became of Former School Buildings After Schools Closed

Indiana Department of Education documents show nearly 146 traditional public schools have closed in Indiana over the last four years. We’ve mapped the fate of as many of those buildings as we could.  Some are now churches, some are now charter school, some sit vacant gathering dust waiting for a new purpose. Many of these school were victims of a recent round of state budget cuts. Some were the victims of declining enrollment. Under an new law passed during the last legislative session, any of these buildings that hit the marketplace could be targets for charter school operators. These groups and individuals are able to purchase or lease these properties for $1.

Take a look at our interactive map and click on the markers to see the fate of closed schools in your area. Continue Reading

House Democrats Fail To Appear In Chambers

Is the threat of another Democratic walkout looming before the session has even fully started?

Indiana House Democrats failed to show up in the chamber this afternoon in an apparent bid to stall Republican plans for fast work on a so-called “right to work” issue. Rep. Vanessa Summers, D- Indianapolis, told Republican Speaker Brian Bosma that the Democrats were caucusing wouldn’t be in the chamber for a couple hours, The Star’s Mary Beth Schneider tweeted.

Read more at:

Three Senate Bills To Keep An Eye On

Indiana Public Media

Last year was a hard hitting year in Indiana education policy and while right to work has dominated headlines, this year’s lineup of bills promises at least a few fireworks.  StateImpact scoured through legislation waiting to be discussed on the floor of the General Assembly.  We bring you three education related Senate bills guaranteed to spark debate or at least a little discussion.

Cursive Writing- Senate Bill 0083

This has been a big water cooler story for StateImpact over the last few months. Earlier this year, the Indiana Department of Education eliminated cursive handwriting as a mandatory course requirement for schools. This move came in response to an effort to bring Indiana curriculums into line with federal Common Core standards.

Continue Reading

Religious Organization Allowed To Meet In Statehouse, In Spite Of New Capacity Rules

INDIANAPOLIS – A prayer group is getting special access to the Statehouse for the opening day of the 2012 session. People attending Capitol Commission Indiana’s prayer day at the Statehouse can show a copy of an email message to skirt an expected large crowd of union members protesting proposed right-to-work laws on the Legislature’s opening day Wednesday.

Read more at:

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »