Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

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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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

Read more at: indianapublicradio.org

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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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.”

Read more at: indianapublicmedia.org

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.

Read more at: wboi.org

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.

Read more at: indianapublicmedia.org

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 (Shutterstock.com) 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.

Read more at: indianapublicmedia.org

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.

Read more at: indianapublicmedia.org

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

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