Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Lauren Chapman

Lauren is a Ball State University graduate and previously worked in magazines, newspapers and commercial television. The Indianapolis native has two cats, Belle and Elvis.

Muncie Apprehensive About Schools Bill Passage At Forum

Saturday’s public meeting was organized by Muncie Community Schools board member Jason Donati – the only member not to speak publicly in support of House Bill 1315 and Ball State’s plan to run Muncie Community Schools. And those in the audience felt similarly. In the two hours of public comment, no community member spoke in full support of the bill.

The audience was made up of parents of MCS students, like Ann Polk and Phil Boltz.

“Never in my wildest dreams professionally, as a parent, or as a community member have I felt so small and powerless,” says Polk.

“This is about using the opportunity of the Muncie Schools’ funding crisis to float a test balloon for school takeover in Indiana and in the United States,” says Boltz.

Indiana lawmakers are scheduled to discuss a bill in conference committee Monday that would let Ball State University run schools in Muncie. And after a weekend community forum, they know more about how Muncie feels about the details of that plan. As IPR’s Tony Sandleben reports, those feelings ran

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Muncie Schools, Ball State Approve Of Planned Gun Violence Protest Walkouts

The emergency management team at MCS says those high school students that voluntarily walk out at 10:00 AM will head to the football field to hear speakers talk about gun violence and the law.

Some school districts across the country have threatened to punish students with disciplinary action if they participate in such events. That has led many universities to reassure students applying for college that their admissions teams won’t hold that action against the applicant.

Officials at Muncie Community Schools say the district will support students who choose to participate in a national walkout next week. Wednesday’s coordinated national action includes a 17-minute walkout to honor the 17 people killed in a school shooting in Florida last month. The emergency m

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Senate Passes Ball State-Muncie Schools Bill

House Bill 1315 is a bill that, as its Senate sponsor put it, will help schools from becoming “distressed” like corporations in Muncie and Gary. But it also adds new rules to the state takeovers of those two districts. In Muncie, it would turn over the local schools to Ball State University. It would replace the elected school board with one appointed largely by Ball State. And it has no specified end date.

The Senate has approved a school financials bill that would, in part, let Ball State University run Muncie Community Schools. Senate discussion saw Delaware County’s two senators disagree on the first-of-its-kind plan in Indiana. Now, IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports on what happens next.

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Safe Gun Storage Lags In Homes With Children

Riley Hospital offers free gun locks to anyone. (Photo courtesy of Riley Hospital IU Health)

Riley Hospital offers free gun locks to anyone. (Photo courtesy of Riley Hospital IU Health)

An estimated 39 percent of Hoosiers have firearms and a new study find many of those guns are not stored properly.

A report published in the Journal Pediatrics states only an estimated one third of Indiana households with guns store them safely.

The report from the American Academy of Pediatrics specifically asked for the mental health history of children in the home and if firearms are stored locked and unloaded.

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Gary, Muncie Schools Bill Advances To Full Senate Without End Date On Ball State Plan

Democratic members of the Senate Appropriations Committee proposed several amendments to House Bill 1315 that would have changed or eliminated new rules for Muncie and Gary schools, now in the hands of state emergency managers. But with nine Republican members to four Democrats, those amendments failed on votes from majority members.

One proposed change would have limited Ball State University’s involvement with the school district to five years, ending in mid-2023. As Democratic Senator Greg Taylor points out, the plan currently does not have an end date.

A bill allowing Ball State University to run Muncie Community Schools is headed to the full Senate for consideration. As IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports, Republicans and Democrats on the Senate committee moving the bill forward wanted different things from this measure, and today’s votes on amend

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MCCSC Aims To Improve Diversity Training, Curriculum Standards

Parents voiced outrage and shock about materials used to teach students about slavery. The chapter’s headline read “Cotton-pickin’ Singing.” MCCSC started using the material last school year.

At a public meeting addressing the curriculum Monday, Superintendent Judy DeMuth says no one pointed out the offensive content sooner because teachers often have a lot on their plates.

“When you’re teaching, it’s a very busy day,” DeMuth says. “You get in there, you have the documents in front of you, you’re doing what you need to do and there’s not a lot of reflective thought that goes into trying to prepare.”

Officials from the Monroe County Community School Corporation say they’ll focus on improving diversity training and curriculum standards after concerns about social studies material sent home with students a few weeks ago. “As a multi-cultural family, we often have to deal with these things.”

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Students, Residents Rally Against Gun Violence

Many community leaders spoke, but students and educators led the discussion. Panashe Chakabva is the senior class president at Homestead High School, and says leaders have regularly listened to their coffers, not their constituents.

“Until a law is written, voted on and sent to the desk of the president for signature, those politicians can save it,” Chakabva said, to cheers from the crowd.

“We need you grown-ups to do what you were elected to do: to carry out the will of the people. We need you to disregard the millions of dollars of campaign contributions from the NRA and do your jobs,” she said.

Students in Northeast Indiana are mobilizing following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School earlier this month, and held a rally against gun violence Sunday. Hundreds of residents flocked to the Allen County Courthouse, many wearing orange in solidarity with victims of gun violence.

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Indiana State Teachers Association Opposes Arming Teachers With Guns

ISTA Vice President and middle school music teacher Keith Gambill says educators need to focus on teaching.

“To expect to add another layer on top of that, to also be law enforcement, is just a step that I personally am not willing to take and I believe that there are better solutions,” Gambill says.

An ISTA statement calls on lawmakers to arm schools with more resources focused on counseling and helping students deal with trauma.

The Indiana State Teachers Association opposes President Trump’s suggestion to arm teachers with guns to fortify schools against mass shootings. ISTA Vice President and middle school music teacher Keith Gambill says educators need to focus on teaching.

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Brown County To Use $3 Million Bond To Upgrade School Security

Some of the money will go toward securing the front entrances at the intermediate and junior high schools. They’re the only two schools without systems that require visitors to be buzzed in.

Superintendent Laura Hammack says they started talking about the renovations more than a year ago, but the approval process came at an interesting time.

“It’s especially timely, of course, with the recent events in Parkland,” Hammack says. “We’ve been looking at ways in which we can make our buildings much more hard targets instead of soft.”

Photo: Lissandra Melo ( The Brown County school board will take its final vote this week on a $3 million bond resolution to improve security and technology at schools. Some of the money will go toward securing the front entrances at the intermediate and junior high schools.

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Parkland Teacher, IU Alum Talks To Ed Students About Mass Shooting

Posada has a clear message for any prospective teachers worried about similar incidents.

“Please don’t let this type of event discourage you or make you be afraid to become a teacher, because in this world it is more important now than it ever has been,” she says.

But Posada says she’s unsure how to proceed as an educator in the wake of the violence.

“How am I going to go back there and read Macbeth with them?” she says. “I mean, really, at this point would anybody care? I don’t think so.”

President Trump this week called for teachers to start carrying guns to help reduce school violence. Posada didn’t hold back on how she feels about the proposal.

A teacher from Parkland, Florida spoke to Indiana University education students Friday about the recent shooting at her high school. Katherine Posada is a language arts teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and an Indiana University alumnus. She survived last week’s mass shooting after taking cover with her students in a classroom.

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