Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Jeanie Lindsay

Jeanie Lindsay is a multimedia reporter covering education issues statewide. Before coming to Indiana, she attended the University of Washington and worked as a regional radio reporter to learn the ways of public broadcasting.

Schools, Officials Prepare For Student Protests

(Women's March Youth/Facebook)

(Women\’s March Youth/Facebook)

School violence in Florida last month has sparked a wildfire of activism around school safety, and school administrators across the state are working to prepare for student protests planned this month and next.

On March 14, students across the country will join a nationwide school walkout, scheduled for a total of 17 minutes. Each of those minutes represents a victim of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month.

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IDOE Report: Choice Scholarship Program Growth Has Slowed

This year does mark a record high for the number of students using vouchers who have never attended public school in Indiana. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

This year does mark a record high for the number of students using vouchers who have never attended public school in Indiana. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Indiana has the largest voucher program in the nation, but a recent report shows growth for the program is slowing down.

The State Department of Education’s most recent update reveals the state has awarded more than $150 million in vouchers this year. The program allows students to use state money to pay for tuition at non-public schools.

But growth has slowed for the past two years. The increase in participation for the 2017 and 2016 school years, landed around 4 and 5 percent, respectively. That’s compared to a 12 percent increase in participation in 2015.

A spokesperson for the State Department of Education says the agency doesn’t keep information to help identify why growth has slowed.

This year does mark a record high for the number of students using vouchers who have never attended public school in Indiana, and more students are using state special education funds to access services through private schools.

Applications for choice scholarships for the 2018-19 school year close Sep. 1.

Legislation Expanding Access To School For the Deaf Advances

Paige and her Mom Keri Moore, testify in the Senate Education and Career Development Committee on House Bill 1420. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Paige and her Mom Keri Moore, testify in the Senate Education and Career Development Committee on House Bill 1420. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Another possible change to education law in Indiana addresses a unique need for some students with disabilities; one piece of a bill moving through the general assembly would allow private school students to attend the Indiana School for the Deaf.

Students with disabilities in non-pulbic schools have something called Individualized Service Plans, or ISPs, and public school students with disabilities have something similar, called Individualized Education Plans, or IEPs. The Indiana School for the Deaf only accepts IEPs.

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McCormick Says Improvements Needed In School Safety Policy

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick is the head of the State Department of Education. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick is the head of the State Department of Education. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The state’s top education official plans to push for more policy and funding to improve school safety.

State officials and lawmakers say Indiana has strong school safety programs in place, but Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick says there are still gaps.

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Sweeping Changes Made To Teacher Licensing Bill

The House Education listens to testimony on SB  387 in the chamber Tuesday. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

The House Education listens to testimony on SB 387 in the chamber Tuesday. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Lawmakers are looking for ways to address the state teacher shortage, and a House committee amended a bill Tuesday, to allow more people to work before they pass their licensing exam.

Some teachers say the initial teacher licensing test contributes to the state’s teacher shortage, and SB 387 aims to address that. Originally, the bill waived content licensing exams for teachers as long as they maintained high grades in their teacher prep coursework, and tried to pass the test at least twice, among other requirements.

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Sex Ed Bill Discussion Shifts To School Shooter Preparedness

Indiana House Speaker Brain Bosma (R-Indianapolis). (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Indiana House Speaker Brain Bosma (R-Indianapolis). (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Lawmakers in the House made a few small changes to a controversial sex education bill Thursday, but debate in the chamber also took an unexpected turn.

Senate Bill 65 centers around parental consent to sex education in schools, but when the bill went to the House chamber for changes, Rep. Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) offered an amendment to shift the entire focus of the bill – specifically, to require active shooter response training for students. Continue Reading

Girl Scouts Get First-Hand Engineering Experience

The first activity of the day was for the girls to build a structure out of clay and straws to withstand an earthquake, simulated by shaking a piece of cardboard on top of tennis balls. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

The first activity of the day was for the girls to build a structure out of clay and straws to withstand an earthquake, simulated by shaking a piece of cardboard on top of tennis balls. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates around a quarter of STEM jobs are filled by women, but an event in south central Indiana this weekend aimed at giving Girl Scouts a chance to hone their inner-engineer.

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