Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Kyle Stokes

Kyle Stokes joined WFIU/WTIU in 2011 as an education reporter and blogger for StateImpact Indiana, a collaborative reporting venture between WFIU and NPR News. He comes to Bloomington from Columbia, Mo., where he was a producer and reporter for NPR member station KBIA-FM and NBC affiliate KOMU-TV. Originally from Minneapolis, Minn., Stokes is a proud graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and an even prouder Minnesota Twins fan.

Frustrated DC Principal Leaves Education (…To Make Cupcakes)

Bill Kerlina, former D.C. Public School principal leaving to open a gourmet cupcake business. (Photo courtesy DCPS)

Educators who leave troubled districts often shy away from public bridge-burnings.

But on Sunday, Bill Kerlina, who’s leaving his job as an elementary principal in the Washington, D.C., Public Schools, aired his frustrations to the Washington Post, giving the public new insights on a district in the throes of reform.

He says he’s leaving education (to go into the gourmet cupcake business, by the way) after “small frustrations” mounted over, among other things, the teacher performance evaluation reforms former superintendent Michelle Rhee started.

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As Indiana Tuition Increases, So Does Student Debt

In case you missed this tidbit on Friday’s Noon Edition on WFIU:

For the first time, student debt due to higher education costs is higher than credit card debt at $829 billion, and this year’s graduating class is the most indebted class ever, according to Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers.

“This is not an inconsequential concern,” she said, “because you have to juxtapose this very real strain that families and students face with the strains that institutions face as well at the same time; and factor into that the fact that we’re telling everyone that they need post-secondary credentials of some sort for this new economy…”

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Two Months Later, Disagreements Among Lawmakers Persist

A woman watches a panel of education policymakers discuss and debate K-12 education issues at the IU School of Education. (Photo by Kyle Stokes / StateImpact)

Indiana House Education Committee Chair Robert Behning defended his party’s education overhaul as “what’s best for kids, not adults” at a panel discussion at IU on Thursday, while Democrats continued their objections to new laws on collective bargaining, private school vouchers, and teacher merit pay.

“What we did this year goes against all research,” panelist Rep. Terry Goodin (D-Austin) told the audience of 60 at the IU School of Education. Continue Reading

Early Retirement Plan Saves IU $6 Million

IU will save $6 million a year in salaries and benefits for employees who opted to take an early retirement incentive. (Photo courtesy Indiana University)

An early retirement incentive designed to stave off potential future job cuts will save the university $6 million annually, IU officials announced today.

Dan Rives, IU’s associate vice president for human resources, said in a statement results of the plan have “exceeded the university’s expectations.”

Of more than 2,500 eligible employees, 572 applied for the early retirement incentive. Some of the 495 employees whose applications were approved will begin their retirements as early as June 30.

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IU Gives Staff Salaries A Bump

IU employees will see a 1.5 percent salary increase if trustees approve next year's budget today. (WFIU Stock Photo / Daniel Robison)

IU employee salaries could see a slight bump if trustees meeting in South Bend approve next year’s budget, president Michael McRobbie announced Thursday.

The budget includes funds for a 1.5 percent employee salary increase, and a “1 percent pool” to retain faculty at IUPUI and the Bloomington campus.

In an e-mail to employees, McRobbie said he regrets not being able to increase salaries even more.

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Students Must Pay To Ride Buses, School Board Decides

The Indianapolis Star has been following the story:

Franklin Township will no longer bus students to school. Instead, families will need to pay $55 per student per month to a non-profit to provide transportation. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Franklin Township Schools students will be able to ride the bus to class, but their families will have to pay out of their own pockets for the service. After voters turned down a property tax increase for the district, officials had planned to stop transportation of students, because of a projected $8 million budget shortfall that the extra taxes would have covered. Instead, the district is going to arrange for a nonprofit organization to take over the busing of students.

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Dollars for Diplomas: State Pays For Grad Rate Increases

We’ve heard of ‘pay for grades.’ Now, Indiana pays for grads.

State superintendent Tony Bennett announced Wednesday the Indiana Department of Education would give cash awards to the twelve Indiana high schools that showed the greatest jump in their graduation rates (find which ones below the jump).

While four of the recipients posted 2010 graduation rates in the state’s top 100 (roughly the top 25 percent of all schools), six of the recipient schools’ graduation rates were among the state’s lowest 100.

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