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Pence Bill Lets Teachers, Schools Off The Hook For Low ISTEP Scores

NYC Department of Education

Governor Pence signed two education bills into law Thursday aimed at curbing negative consequences for teachers and schools as a result of the 2015 ISTEP test.

House Bill 1003 prohibits low ISTEP grades from being used to calculate teacher evaluations this year– ensuring teachers won’t lose bonuses or be graded in affective because of low scores.

Senate Bill 200 does essentially the same thing for schools, allowing them to take the higher of this year or last year’s A-F grade.  

This legislation comes after the release of the 2015 ISTEP scores, which showed a 20 percent drop statewide. The passage of these bills through the House and Senate was a bipartisan one.

State superintendent Ritz had suggested the state adopt a hold harmless approach more than a year ago, and Governor Pence recognized that before signing the bills into law.

“I also want to thank Superintendent Ritz, who first called this issue as a possibility to our attention in the middle of last year,” Pence said. “We appreciate her passion for our kids, her dedication, let me take this opportunity to thank you.”

These are the first bills to be signed into law this legislation session.

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