Claire McInerny

StateImpact Reporter
Richard Lee /


Last week, state superintendent Glenda Ritz and State Board of Education member Byron Ernest went to D.C. for separate national conferences to learn what the new education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (the re-write of No Child Left Behind) could meant here at home.

The national conferences align with ongoing federal negotiations that aim to translate ESSA’s broader mandates to the more specific changes that will be applied in each state.

Thomas Hawk /

An Indiana University course which brings undergraduate students and incarcerated people together to study social justice issues is ending.

The class is part of a national program and taught Indiana University students and prisoners at the Monroe County jail.

Some semesters a public speaking class and some a civic engagement one – this course is part of a national program called Inside Out. The program brings traditional students and prisoners together to study social justice issues. Students are asked to find small solutions to big problems.

momboleum /

A group of private universities is making some graduate level classes free for high school teachers that teach dual credit science, technology, engineering or math. The program, new this spring, is already maxing out in enrollment.

As of last year, Indiana’s thousands of dual credit teachers must have a master’s degree in their content areas to continue to teach high school.


Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill into law Tuesday that eliminates the current statewide student assessment and lays plans for a new one. The law creates a new committee that can alter test format and stakes.

The committee determining the ISTEP replacement will be made mostly of educators, lawmakers and agency heads.

While it can reformat the test, the statewide standards remain the same, so big changes in test questions are unlikely.


The Fort Wayne Community School board has voted to not help the Indiana Department of Education pilot questions for next year’s ISTEP. Participation would have meant additional, unrequired testing for students.

A Department of Education spokesperson says piloting the test ensures specific questions accurately assess a student’s knowledge.

The Department of Education asked Fort Wayne Schools to have some of its students take these questions like they would the real ISTEP, except the scores wouldn’t count.

Kyle Stokes /

The State Board of Education voted Wednesday, after rounds of public input and months of study, to not move forward with a re-write of the state’s graduation requirements.

When the State Board of Education first took up the issue of re-writing the state’s diplomas last fall, they were inundated with concerns. Many of these focused on math, fine arts and special education. 

The board created a task force, comprised mostly of educators, to spend more time coming up with the new diploma types.

NYC Department of Education /

There have been plenty of complaints against ISTEP, the state’s standardized education assessment.

The legislature addressed these complaints by saying ISTEP will be gone by 2018, and a group of educators, politicians and other stakeholders will decide what’s next.

StateImpact Indiana’s Claire McInerny reports this committee could address one of the biggest criticisms of the ISTEP: the high stakes.

Sherry Nelson /

The legislature voted to get ride of ISTEP, replacing the state’s assessment with a new one by next year.

A committee of legislators, educators and other stakeholders will design the new test.

The 232-person panel has until the end of this year to submit a report outlining a new plan for the assessment. The Department of Education will then spend 2017 creating the test and preparing schools for its implementation in spring 2018.

Noah Coffey /


The House and Senate Thursday passed a bill that addresses what supporters call rapidly increasing tax bills for farmers. The bill, now headed to the governor’s desk, changes the way those taxes are calculated.

Indiana’s agricultural land taxes are based on income rather than the underlying value of property. Some say the formula that generates that tax is outdated, and that a string of bad years for crop farmers has amplified the problem.

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA


Legislation headed to the governor will give the public and the press more access to police body camera videos than they’ve ever had.  A final compromise drew unanimous support for the bill in both chambers.

There was one issue remaining in the body camera bill – a provision that said, if a video potentially depicts excessive use of force or civil rights violations by police, it must automatically be released.  Police didn’t like that, and so, despite the objections of press organizations, lawmakers took the provision out.