Kalen Phillips, left, and Cole Crouch, both students in the AP Statistics class at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, listen to a presentation from StateImpact Indiana's Kyle Stokes on the system state officials use to issue letter grade ratings to schools.
Officials won’t have to start from scratch. The Indiana General Assembly’s order still requires state officials to blend schools’ pass-fail rates on statewide tests (as they have since 1999) with a measure of students’ relative academic “growth” (as last year’s re-write prescribed) in the re-written school letter grading system.
But in passing House Enrolled Act 1427, lawmakers took aim at the method state officials chose to measure student growth — a method critics charge is so complicated that even state superintendent Glenda Ritz cannot advise local educators how to improve their final rating.
Fort Wayne Community Schools… is calling on lawmakers to re-evaluate the state’s system of accountability centered on test scores.
The district will not use the data from the test in its evaluations and will not distribute the test results to parents or teachers “unless and until they can be validated by a legitimate, independent third party.” Continue Reading →
Since Teach for America was recruited to Indianapolis in 2006 by The Mind Trust, its influence has grown rapidly. It now has more than 300 alumni in the city, about 85 percent of whom are still working in public education.
Besides working as teachers and principals, Teach for America alumni hold key positions in the education reform community. Examples are Jason Kloth, Mayor Greg Ballard’s deputy mayor for education; Indianapolis Public School Board member Caitlin Hannon; and Linda Erlinger, executive director of Stand for Children. Continue Reading →
It took 90 minutes for lawmakers to finally bring up the biggest thing happening in education policy these days: the Common Core State Standards. Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., asked Duncan whether the federal government is trying to create a national curriculum.
Duncan took umbrage at the suggestion. “Let’s not get caught up in hysteria and drama,” he said. He noted that the Education Department is legally prohibited from putting in place a federal curriculum.
Rep. Todd Rokita of Indiana, the top Republican on the subcommittee overseeing K-12 policy, also asked about language in the administration’s budget request that would provide $389 million in assessment grants to states that have adopted college- and career-ready standards. … Rokita wanted to know if there any other set of college- and career-ready standards, besides common core. Yes, Duncan said. Both Virginia and Minnesota have college- and career-ready standards and aren’t in common core. (Actually, Minnesota is a halfway state. It’s adopted common core in language arts, but not math.) Continue Reading →
Mary Staples has been a strong supporter of Imagine MASTer Academy, but she feels she’s in limbo now, pulled between her desire to send her kids to the school and her need to plan ahead. Ball State University decided not to renew the charters for Imagine MASTer Academy and two other Fort Wayne charter schools because of their poor academic performances.
Officials at the local schools who lost charters say they still hope to find other sponsors to keep their doors open this fall. Continue Reading →
Kyle Stokes speaking to the AP Statistics class at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis' Wayne Township last week. Kyle did this at the request of a project-based learning coach and the district's superintendent to give students the "101" on Indiana's A-F grading system.
A few months ago, Wayne Township Schools superintendent Jeff Butts called me with a request: Help out some students at Ben Davis High School who were going to study Indiana’s system for rating schools.
My study of Indiana’s system for rating schools basically drove me crazy enough to make this video, so I immediately empathized with the students because of their assignment: get to know the A-F formula, “the Indiana Growth Model,” and possibly come up with recommendations for how to improve it.
Kindergarteners and first graders are already being taught using the Common Core State Standards. Indiana planned to add second grade next year, but that plan has been put on hold pending a legislative review.
But what happens next is unclear. According to the bill Gov. Mike Pence signed into law last week, the State Board of Education can take no further action to implement the Common Core State Standards. Yet the legislation also leaves any standards adopted before May 15, 2013 in place.
Proponents of the new standards argue pausing implementation of the Common Core will leave teachers unsure what to teach next year. But the bill’s statehouse advocate disagrees.
“I don’t know how stopping and taking another look at this in any way is worse than moving forward with something we think is bad,” says Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis. Continue Reading →
More than 11,800 students will have to retake the IREAD-3 this summer or risk retention.
We’ve posted complete statewide results of the exam to two easily-searchable tables. You can find results for your school or your district. (This year’s data also includes results for non-public schools.)
State education officials released the results with little fanfare. Superintendent Glenda Ritz has been fiercely critical of the high-stakes exam, citing it as the primary reason she ran against former schools chief Tony Bennett in November.
Ritz, a former teacher who worked as a media specialist in Washington Township, has said repeatedly Indiana needs to rethink how it handles students who aren’t reading at grade level. Continue Reading →
Students at Charter School of the Dunes in Gary turned their January academic showcase into a rally to keep their school open after Ball State officials announced they were pulling their sponsorship. The school ultimately found a new authorizer, but five other charters' appeals were officially rejected Wednesday.
Ball State President Jo Ann Gora made it official and “final” Wednesday — five Indiana charter schools will not have the university’s backing next year, and will have to close if their leaders don’t find new sponsors.
In total, Ball State will not authorize nine of the schools it sponsored this year, representing a quarter of its charter portfolio — the largest in the state, currently. Even losing those charters, though, the university remains the state’s most prolific charter authorizer.
If the schools don’t find new authorizers, more charters will close in 2013 than in the combined twelve years since Indiana’s charter law passed. Continue Reading →
Statewide data collected by the Indiana Commission on Higher Education show that almost 30 percent of Hoosier high school graduates need to take at least one remedial course in math or English when they get to college. (It’s more than 60 percent for Indiana high school graduates headed to our two-year colleges.) Those are courses that carry no credit, but cost just the same as the ones that do…