Superintendent's Office Cries Politics In ISTEP Vote Delay

Oct 15, 2015

Glenda Ritz spokesman Dan Altman accuses the State Board of Education of shilling for GOP education reform policy.
Credit Kyle Stokes / http://indianapublicmedia.org/stateimpact/

The latest salvo in the years-long fight between Governor Mike Pence and education superintendent Glenda Ritz was fired by the Ritz camp this week, when superintendent’s spokesman Dan Altman accused the State Board of Education of being in the governor’s pocket when it chose to delay the release of this year’s ISTEP scores.

The scores were set to be released Wednesday, but have now been delayed until at least October 28, as the state tries to figure out how to deal with scores that are significantly lower than in years past.

That’s because Indiana, and many other states which dropped out of the Common Core learning standards in the past couple years, has gone to tests which are tougher – so more kids find their scores close to the so-called “cut line” – the line that separates passing from failure.

One former board member, Brad Oliver, says he agrees with the board's vice chair, Sarah O'Brien, that the information should be digested before the board takes action on scoring the exam.

Altman, however, derided the board – which has been appointed mostly by Republicans – of repeating, in his words, “talking points they are getting from the Pence administration.”