Elle Moxley came to WFIU in 2012 from The Examiner, a community newspaper in suburban Kansas City. She previously worked for KBIA-FM in Columbia, Mo.; The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill.; and the Associated Press in London. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri, where she studied multimedia journalism and broadcasting.
Indiana is now using the Test Assessing Secondary Completion, which aligns more closely with the state’s goals for preparing students for college and jobs.
Brown County Career Resource Center Career Facilitator Charity Robertson says the transition has been smooth for the teachers. It’s a different story, however, for some students.
“It’s been a struggle with the new students we had,” says Robertson. “The new test is harder. It is more thorough in investigation of what students know from the high school realm. So we have had trouble with the level of material and the things we have to teach them that is new and higher.” Continue Reading →
The pilot program will provide anywhere between $2,500 and $6,800 per child so low-income Hoosier kids in five counties can attend a high quality preschool program. Pence signed the bill Thursday at DayStar Childcare Ministries in Indianapolis, which is run by Englewood Christian Church.
“In a neighborhood like this one that has some economic challenges, it means that children won’t be sitting in front of the television set; they won’t be playing unattended out in yards,” says pastor Mike Bowling. “They’re going to be with other children and they’re going to be learning and they’re going to ready for kindergarten when the time comes.”
Pence says his administration is already working to get the program up and running as soon as possible. Continue Reading →
The approved legislation uses existing Family and Social Services Administration money and private contributions to fund a pilot program in five counties that could provide up to 4,500 low-income children with money to attend a high quality preschool.
House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says that’s a fine first step, but it needs to be kept in perspective.
“That is planting a sapling when the state of Indiana needs an entirely new landscape,” says Pelath. “And while it’s a positive thing, it’s not something that we can say is going to transform Indiana’s children yet.” Continue Reading →
An aide helps a student count at Busy Bees Academy, a public preschool in Columbus.
State lawmakers have approved a preschool pilot program today after it was seemingly left for dead just two weeks ago. It now heads to Gov. Mike Pence’s desk.
House Speaker Brian Bosma says creation of the pre-K pilot wouldn’t have been possible without a funding mechanism crafted by the Senate.
The program can use up to $10 million in existing funds from the Family and Social Services Administration. At least 10 percent — and up to 50 percent — of that in matching funds must come from private sources or the federal government.
Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, sits on the Indiana Senate Education Committee and chairs the Appropriations Committee.
“This,” says Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, referring to a proposed preschool program, “is almost a potential budget buster.”
Gov. Mike Pence asked state lawmakers this year to approve a small-scale preschool pilot program for low-income 4-year-olds. But Kenley, who chairs the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, says he’s not ready to commit to state-funded pre-K.
The House passed a bill earlier this session creating a pilot program that would provide vouchers for low-income Hoosier children to attend preschool. But the Senate eliminated the program, creating instead a comprehensive summer study on pre-K.
As House and Senate leaders negotiate over the pre-K bill’s final product, Long says a smaller version of the pilot could be in the works.
“There’s an argument that we need to have something out there to see what is or isn’t working, so you have an opportunity, then, to implement some evidence-based programs out there that we can look towards as we talk about implementing a much larger program in the state,” says Long. Continue Reading →
Pence says “the time is now” for the legislature to reinstate a pre-k pilot program after the Senate Education Committee gutted a bill last week that would have provided vouchers for 1,000 4-year-olds in five counties to attend preschool.
Instead, lawmakers replaced it with a study committee on the issue. But Pence says the pilot program can be used to help inform the study committee.
“The legislative process, more importantly, is about persuasion and we are on a daily basis engaging with members of the General Assembly in both parties to make the case that the time has come for expanding access to quality pre-k programs to some of our most disadvantaged kids,” says Pence. Continue Reading →
Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, attempted to convince members of the Senate Education Committee that loosening rules for these schools would truly give parents an option in deciding where to enroll their children and use vouchers to help pay for tuition.
The bill was written to let schools eligible for the Choice Scholarship program decide whether to administer the ISTEP exam to assess student learning. Instead, these schools could use another standardized test approved by the State Board of Education.
“To me the essence of choice is that money follows the child to the institution of the parents choice,” Schneider said. “And that really is the true essence of choice. And if we are going to have a voucher program, we need to maintain some sort of autonomy for these schools.” Continue Reading →
But proponents of school choice say the new limits — $4,700 this year and $4,800 next year for students in grades K-8 — are still too low to pay tuition at many private schools.
“We don’t give kids the amount of money they deserve,” says Robert Enlow, president of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. “The voucher is only $4,800 in elementary school. You can’t grow a program and help kids and more kids if you’re not going to give them an amount of money that can allow that to happen.”
About half of Indiana students come from families with incomes low enough to receive free or reduced-price meals at school. Enlow says according to the report the Indiana Department of Education released Monday, 75 percent of voucher-recipient students come from low-income families, or about $43,500 for a family of four.
“I’d say this program is still serving serving far more low-income children than the rest of the state,” says Enlow. Continue Reading →
Bosma says after Wednesday’s State Board meeting, he’s happy with their progress.
“We’ve been chatting with everyone – the governor’s office, the State Board of Education members and the superintendent and her team – and it looks like everybody’s playing nice and moving in the same direction,” he says. “So that’s welcome news, I think, for all of us.” Continue Reading →
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