TOP: Retired teacher Jill Lyday assembles a "campaign in a box" at Glenda Ritz's headquarters in September. BOTTOM: We mapped out everyone in Indiana who contributed enough to receive a "campaign in a box." Scroll down to check it out.
Scroll down to take a look at our map.
Glenda Ritz’s staffers called it the “campaign in a box” — an idea so simple, it doesn’t sound at first like a campaign strategy.
Everyone who contributed $25 to the Democratic state superintendent-elect’s bid to unseat GOP incumbent Tony Bennett received a “campaign in a box”: a yard sign, five bumper stickers and campaign postcards with Ritz’s main talking points.
Every contributor’s job was to distribute the materials and talk to others they knew about Ritz’s policies.
Electorally, Bennett’s share of the vote slipped significantly from 2008 in several key counties where other Republicans (Romney, Pence, Mourdock) won.
These losses are reflected in the map here: In counties shaded yellow, the percentage of the vote Bennett won in 2012 was lower than the percentage he won in 2008 — the deeper the yellow, the greater the loss. In counties shaded green, Bennett’s share of the vote increased in this election from 2008.
Below the map are a few takeaways.
Jessica Pupovac & Yan Lu / StateImpact
Yellow shading indicates counties where the percentage of the vote Bennett won in 2012 decreased from 2008 — Hamilton and Allen Counties, for instance. Green shading indicates counties where Bennett’s share of the vote increased — Lake County, for example.
Bennett has brought in $1.3 million in campaign contributions since his election four years ago — more than $812,000 in 2012 alone — with the thick of the political fundraising season still to come. By contrast, Democratic challenger Glenda Ritz has raised $112,000 to date, largely from the political arms of the state’s teachers unions.
A majority of Bennett’s campaign funds come from contributors in Indiana. But roughly 40 percent of his campaign cash has come from out-of-state givers, including from a company tapped to lead a school takeover and from the mayor of New York City.
71 percent of Indiana students passed both the math and English portions of this year’s ISTEP+ exam, the state’s benchmark standardized test for children in Grades 3-8, according to figures released Tuesday.
The result reflects a modest increase in the passing rate — about 1 percent over last year.
Overall ISTEP+ scores are higher than they’ve ever been, but stubborn socio-economic achievement gaps remain. While low-income and minority students’ scores have increased slightly faster than the population as a whole, they still lag behind.
“In general, I think [Tuesday's results] are very good news,” Jonathan Plucker, director of Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, told StateImpact. “But clearly we have a lot of work to do.” Continue Reading →
Indiana Department of Education documents show nearly 146 traditional public schools have closed in Indiana over the last four years. We’ve mapped the fate of as many of those buildings as we could. Some are now churches, some are now charter school, some sit vacant gathering dust waiting for a new purpose. Many of these school were victims of a recent round of state budget cuts. Some were the victims of declining enrollment. Under an new law passed during the last legislative session, any of these buildings that hit the marketplace could be targets for charter school operators. These groups and individuals are able to purchase or lease these properties for $1.
Take a look at our interactive map and click on the markers to see the fate of closed schools in your area. Continue Reading →
Much of the controversy around school vouchers has focused on the religious nature of many private schools taking part in the program. And it’s true. About 98 percent of all voucher schools are Christian schools. But we decided to look at vouchers from a different angle. How well are these schools performing on the state’s accountability scale. For readers thinking of sending their children to private schools, we bring you a handy guide to voucher school performance.
(Note: This map only includes schools which are currently receiving vouchers from the state of Indiana. For a complete list of voucher eligible schools, click here.)
Only 19 of Indiana's 92 counties contain at least one charter school
Charter schools are the darling of the education reform movement —Governor Mitch Daniels and many state lawmakers champion charters as one solution to increase “educational opportunities.” But for families in rural areas, charter schools aren’t really an option.
As you’ll see in our map, only 19 of Indiana’s 92 counties contain at least one charter school. Those living in rural areas would have to travel more than 40 miles, in many cases, to get to the nearest charter schools. Those 19 counties have a little more than half the state’s residents.
Charter schools have traditionally taken hold in large urban communities, and Indiana is no exception. Indianapolis is the only city in Indiana where the mayor can issue charters without approval from the state and neither Republican Greg Ballard nor his predecessor, Democrat Bart Peterson, have been shy with that authority. The city contains 28 of Indiana’s charter schools. Add to that the 10 in the Gary/East Chicago area and 38 of 47 charter schools are located in two cities. Continue Reading →
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