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.

Single Diploma Measure Moves Through House

Rep. Bob Behning speaks to the chamber at the state house. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Rep. Bob Behning speaks to the chamber at the state house. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Monday marked the last day for Indiana lawmakers to move legislation out of the House of Representatives, and a handful of education measures received approval.

One of those bills, House Bill 1426, would address a change in federal graduation rate calculations. It would create a single high school diploma structure to meet those federal rules, and is a welcome solution to a problem many state and school officials have shared concern over in recent months.

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Diploma, Grad Pathways Focus Of New House Bill

Lawmakers heard testimony in the House Chamber during their meeting Tuesday. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Lawmakers heard testimony in the House Chamber during their meeting Tuesday. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

A heated debate broke out during a House committee’s discussion of a new graduation pathways bill Tuesday, as one lawmaker tried to make a big change to the legislation.

The State Board of Education passed new graduation pathway requirements late last year to help better prepare Hoosier students for a career or going to college after high school. Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) took issue with the plan during discussion of a bill that would – in part – help implement those new rules. He proposed a change to get rid of them completely.

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Lawmakers Consider Foster Care Student Outcomes Legislation

A group called The Villages of Indiana specializes in family and child services, including foster care and adoption.  (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

A group called The Villages of Indiana specializes in family and child services, including foster care and adoption. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

A House committee has approved legislation to track foster children and their success in schools.

The bill would require the Indiana Department of Education and the Department of Child Services to gather data on foster care students in public schools – specifically, the graduation rates and enrollment data for those students.

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Committee Hears Testimony On School Financial Management Bill

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

A House committee heard testimony on a bill Wednesday that would help the state identify schools facing financial problems, but the bill has already been met with criticism. Both Gary and Muncie Schools were taken over by the state last year after their finances reached crisis levels.

Some key pieces of House Ways and Means Committee Chair Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville)’s legislation have superintendents and teachers concerned. In addition to creating ways for the state to check in on and offer help to schools flagged for financial problems, it would also provide ways for the District Unit Appeals Board (DUAB) to strip some school officials of their power.

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School Principals Share Concerns On New Grad Pathways

Some school principals offered feedback on the State Board of Education's new graduation pathways plan, citing concerns about implementation in schools across the state. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Some school principals offered feedback on the State Board of Education\’s new graduation pathways plan, citing concerns about implementation in schools across the state. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

School principals are concerned about the state’s plan to change high school graduation pathway requirements. Some say it lacks important details on how schools can bring that plan to life.

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Schools in Financial Trouble Could Get New Early Warning System

The Indiana Statehouse. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/IPB News)

The Indiana Statehouse. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/IPB News)

Lawmakers will consider legislation this session, that would create a type of early warning system to to help identify schools facing significant financial problems.

The state took over Gary and Muncie Community Schools last year after their finances reached crisis levels. Now, Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary) has filed legislation to prevent more major state takeovers by catching financial problems early. He says it’s a way the state could step in to help before it’s too late.

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Cursive Writing Debate Back At The Statehouse

Leising-JL

Sen. Jean Leising addresses the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development about her cursive writing bill. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

The debate about teaching cursive to Hoosier kids has returned to the statehouse, and the lawmaker behind the cursive writing bill has shown no signs of backing down from the issue.

Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) has filed legislation every year since 2011 that would require elementary schools to teach cursive, and it’s died every year in the House of Representatives. But Leising says she won’t give up.

“I can’t hardly go anywhere in my district without someone speaking to me about ‘what are you doing about cursive? This is ridiculous,’” she says.

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