Indiana Department of Education

Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting

This is a two-part series looking at the candidates for Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction.  

The state superintendent runs the Department of Education and chairs the State Board of Education.

 GLENDA RITZ

When Democrat incumbent Glenda Ritz first ran for state superintendent in 2012, she was the underdog.

She faced Republican incumbent and school reform advocate Tony Bennett. He praised charter schools, supported the creation of the voucher program and new ways to hold teachers and schools accountable for low test scores.

WFIU / https://www.flickr.com/photos/wfiupublicradio/

The Department of Education announced Monday the number of new teachers receiving licenses from the state saw a huge increase this school year. 

Last school year, the Department issued around 3,800 licenses to new teachers, the lowest of the last six years. This school year, around 4,500 were issued- an 18-percent increase.

That's a sharp turnaround. Recently there have been fewer people applying for new teacher licenses – the number has been dropping each year for the last three years.

Inside A Dual-Language Preschool For Migrant Workers' Children

Oct 19, 2016
Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting

Depending on the season, Indiana farms employ between 2,000 and 20,000 migrant farm workers. When workers migrate, often their families do, too.

Children in this mobile lifestyle can face interrupted schooling, cultural and language barriers, and social isolation — factors that inhibit a child’s ability to do well in school.

Philip Brookes / https://www.flickr.com/photos/philipbrookes/

The Republican challenger of democratic state superintendent Glenda Ritz wants authorities to investigate an education department contract that’s recently come under fire.

Jennifer McCormick is calling the inspector general to investigate a 2015 contract for an education department mobile app.

Benjamin Chun / HTTPS://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/BENCHUN/

2015 ISTEP scores were supposed to be posted online for parents to see Thursday, but an executive from the company scoring the test now says that will be pushed back until Tuesday.

Pearson, the company that created and scores the ISTEP, wrote a letter saying it’s taking longer than expected to final check the scores and ensure quality control. Parents will be able to view their child’s score Tuesday.

This is the first year Pearson is scoring the assessment. Once the initial scores are posted Tuesday, parents have until August 12 to submit for a rescore. ​

Benjamin Chun / HTTPS://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/BENCHUN/

The 22-member panel tasked with developing a new standardized assessment test to replace the ISTEP will begin meeting soon.

Lawmakers mandated the ISTEP rewrite during the 2016 legislative session.

The panel has the ability to change the format of the test, the school accountability measures, and how often and when it can be administered.

US Department of Education / https://www.flickr.com/photos/departmentofed/

    Fifty-five schools – 2.6 percent of the schools in the state - earned an accountability grade of F last year, according to the Indiana Department of Education.

And many of those failing schools struggle to climb out of the failing category.

But an elementary school in Evansville jumped straight from F to A. 

Benjamin Chun / HTTPS://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/BENCHUN/

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.

US Department of Education / https://www.flickr.com/photos/departmentofed/14120929212

It’s been one year since legislators created a new school funding formula.

The formula gives equal funding to all schools, but critics say that’s unfair because schools with a lot of low incomes kids or students learning English need more money.

StateImpact Indiana’s Claire McInerny visited Goshen, Indiana, and found the district is scrambling to save its English Learning program in light of the funding cuts.

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

 

Getting high school students to graduate takes a lot of work, and sometimes a little creativity.

Indianapolis Public Schools and the Simon Youth Foundation devised a personalized solution for struggling juniors and seniors.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Eric Weddle has this profile of the Simon Youth Academy in its first year of operation  at Circle Center Mall.

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