Indiana State Teachers Association

Indiana union leaders say a pivotal U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down Wednesday won’t have a direct impact on the state, but could change the way those groups receive support from national affiliates.

President Donald Trump is proposing a plan to merge the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor – it’s another indicator of a shift in views around education.

Rural Community Rallies For More Public School Funding

May 13, 2018

Educators in Farmersburg, Indiana, held a rally Saturday, urging lawmakers to give more attention to rural public schools, specifically when it comes to funding.

School money follows the student in Indiana, and the Northeast Sullivan School Corporation has lost a big chunk of per-pupil funding in the past eight years – around $4 million – largely due to students leaving the district for better funded schools with more resources available. The district already closed some schools, and others could follow.

Activism among students and teachers has skyrocketed in recent weeks with strikes and walkouts across the country, and so far Indiana educators don’t have plans to join a growing number of movements in several states.

But Indiana State Teachers Association President Teresa Meredith says the widespread demonstrations are getting people’s attention.

“Most of the calls though are about 'what are we going to do, and when are we going to do it,' and so when I ask them why they’re asking the question, the responses vary,” she says.

Results from the first-ever study of Indiana’s school voucher system found negative academic effects among low-income students in math, but also showed the same students could match or outperform public school peers in English – if they remained in the private school long enough.

 

A bill that would remove Indiana’s top education official as an elected position is progressing through the Statehouse. The bill, authored by Sen. Jim Buck (R-Kokomo) would allow the governor to appoint the superintendent of public instruction starting in 2021.

It passed out of committee Monday on a 5-to-3 vote.

“Ultimately it’s the governor that’s responsible for education,” Buck says. “This just puts all of that responsibility on him or her.”


Indiana Gov.-elect Eric Holcomb wants to create an appointed secretary of education position. In this file photo, Holcomb appears at a campaign event on Aug. 1, 2016. (Brandon J. Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Indiana Governor-elect Eric Holcomb says changing the state’s top education official into an appointed, not elected, position will be one his top priorities during the 2017 legislative session.

NYC Department of Education / http://schools.nyc.gov/default.htm

Education groups are asking legislators not to open a second window to apply for private-school vouchers. The Senate has already voted to extend the voucher deadline to December and let students transfer at midyear.

Vic Smith with the Indiana Coalition for Public Education complains private schools already have an advantage in marketing themselves to prospective students, and says the change would make that edge four-and-a-half months longer.

Josh Davis / https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedavisblog/2230010178

The state House of Representatives is considering a bill that addresses the role the State Board of Education and Department of Education play in making education decisions. 

House Bill 1486 would shift education responsibilities from the Department of Education, headed by state superintendent Ritz, to the State Board of Education, which is made up of appointees from Governor Pence and former governor Mitch Daniels.

Bob Cotter / https://www.flickr.com/photos/gibsonsgolfer/6364640471

Governor Mike Pence plans to increase performance pay for teachers, but some argue the policy he outlined in Tuesday’s State of the State address is not in teachers’ best interests.

Purdue political scientist Robert Browning says the policy may be a way to pacify both conservatives who favor performance pay over raises, but still give pay increases to the 90-percent of teachers who qualify for bonuses because the state regards them as “effective”.

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