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.

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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House Committee Makes Big Changes To Sex Ed Bill

(Brandon Smith/IPB News)

(Brandon Smith/IPB News)

The House Education Committee approved a controversial sex education bill Tuesday, and some members say a few key changes could make them more receptive to the legislation.

Senate Bill 65 says schools can’t teach sex ed without the consent of parents – shifting the current opt-out system to an opt-in – but an amendment to the bill limits how many days a parent has to return a sex education consent form for their child. Rep. Vernon Smith (D-Gary) says he could support the bill as it heads to the full chamber, with a few more adjustments.

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Lawmakers Weigh New School Coalition Pilot Program

Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) speaks in the Indiana House. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) speaks in the Indiana House. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

School coalitions could become a new feature of the state’s education system, as lawmakers consider another pilot program to better prepare students for life after high school.

The bill making its way through the general assembly would allow some school corporations to form a sort of mega think-tank, or coalition.

A big focus would be on offering more, better workplace learning programs, but would also include paths for students to earn higher education credits. A key piece of the bill says coalition school corporations would be allowed to waive some state requirements – including things like the amount of time students spend in certain classes – to make that happen.

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Public Comment On School Accountability Rules Kicks Off This Week

Jennifer McCormick, Indiana superintendent of public instruction (Peter Balonon-Rosen/IPB News)

Jennifer McCormick, Indiana superintendent of public instruction (Peter Balonon-Rosen/IPB News)

The State Board of Education will hear feedback on a recently approved school accountability proposal, during public hearings throughout Indiana, starting this week. Members approved a new school grading system plan proposal at their meeting in January. It met some pushback because it differs from the state’s federally approved education plan, and makes changes to the weight of student growth in school grades.

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Girls Go CyberStart Competition Kicks Off Next Week

(Photo courtesy girlsgocyberstart.com)

(Photo courtesy girlsgocyberstart.com)

A multi-state effort aimed at getting more women in the cybersecurity career pipeline comes to the web this month.

High school girls from 16 states will participate in the six-day Girls Go CyberStart program starting next week. It’s an online series of challenges to test a participant’s interest and potential in the cybersecurity field, and includes activities around web attacks, programming, and computer forensics.

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Efforts For Lower School Age Fail In 2018 Session

(WFIU/WTIU)

(WFIU/WTIU)

Legislation to lower the age at which Hoosier children must attend school failed in the General Assembly again this year, but the conversation isn’t likely to end any time soon.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick included lowering the compulsory school age as one of her priorities for this year, and so did the Indiana State Teachers’ Association.

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Teacher Housing Tackles Turnover, Neighborhood Revitalization

Near East Area Renewal, or NEAR, posts signs on the properties it eventually offers as affordable housing in St. Clair Place. (Steve Burns/WTIU)

Near East Area Renewal, or NEAR, posts signs on the properties it eventually offers as affordable housing in St. Clair Place. (Steve Burns/WTIU)

Indianapolis has a big turnover problem. Each year some 400 teachers in Indianapolis Public Schools – around 20 percent – either switch schools or quit.

Elsie Owolo is with a group called TeachPlus. She says keeping teachers around is a complicated issue, but housing often plays a key role. And in the heart of Indianapolis, it’s a problem.

“So in order for them to be able to afford something our teachers have expressed that they’ve number one had to stay with parents, had to stay with roommates, or you know the ultimate result is living out in the suburbs and having a longer commute,” Owolo says.

And that can lead to turnover.

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