Indiana Department of Education

Gretchen Frazee / http://www.ipbs.org/

State school superintendent Glenda Ritz would remain chair of the State Board of Education until after she wins or loses reelection next year, under the latest version of a bill to end the feuding between Ritz and the board.

The board would undergo changes first. The bill shrinks it from 11 members to nine starting in June, and shifts two appointments from the governor to the House speaker and Senate president pro tem.

Kyle Stokes / http://indianapublicmedia.org/stateimpact/

Legislation to remove Glenda Ritz as chair of the State Board of Education may expand to address other tension points between the board and the superintendent.

Senate President David Long says House and Senate negotiators have talked with Ritz‘s office while seeking what he calls a "holistic fix" to the turf battles which have plagued the board.

"There's only one thing people focus on and that's the chairmanship," says Long. "But for the board to work effectively it must have the information it needs on our outcomes out there to help guide the policy."

amboo who / https://www.flickr.com/photos/amboo213/

Turf war, moral imperative and a wolf in sheep’s clothing are all descriptions used to explain proposed legislation to overhaul the state intervention laws for failing schools. A bill that began as an initiative of Gov. Mike Pence has faced pushback and considerable changes from opponents --- and supporters alike.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are moving cautiously towards approving legislation that rewrites how the state intervenes in failing schools.

File photo

The road to this year’s ISTEP+ test has been bumpy.

Claire McInerny / http://indianapublicmedia.org/stateimpact/

Two national testing consultants – hired through an executive order Gov. Mike Pence issued this week – presented five recommendations to the State Board of Education Friday of ways to reduce the length of this year’s ISTEP+ test.

Department of Ed: ISTEP Exam Is On, Despite Pence

Feb 11, 2015

The Indiana Department of Education says it will proceed as planned to issue the ISTEP test beginning Feb. 25, even after Gov. Mike Pence signed an executive order Monday to re-evaluate the test’s length. 

Pence said the length of the upcoming high-stakes test, which at 12 hours is twice as long as last year's exam for some grades, is unacceptable.

Claire McInerny / StateImpact Indiana

Governor Pence is trying to use his authority to shorten this year’s ISTEP, after parents and educators shared concerns over the amount of time students will sit to take a test, which was set to more than double in some cases.

The Department of Education released timetables for this year’s ISTEP last week, and parents and educators immediately expressed outrage at the amount of testing.

Last year’s ISTEP required a third grade student to sit for five hours to complete the test, but this year, that increased to more than 12 hours.

Indiana Department of Education / http://www.doe.in.gov/

A growing coalition is hoping that a hash-tag will save the integrity of the Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Indiana House could vote today, to remove Glenda Ritz as head of the State Board of Education, but a twitter movement launched by a group including angry parents and teachers is trying to keep that change from happening.

#IStandWithRitz was one of the top ranking hash-tags on Twitter yesterday, thanks in part to Jennifer Dewitt from Noblesville who has three special needs children.

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.

Report Ranks Indiana 43rd For Early Education

Jan 20, 2015
Elle Moxley / http://indianapublicmedia.org/stateimpact/

Indiana ranked 43rd on early education in Education Week’s national “Quality Counts” report.

The state got a ‘D’, worse than the nation’s ‘D+’ average.

Holly Yettick, Education Week’s Research Center director, says low enrollment numbers in programs like kindergarten and Head Start contributed to its ranking.

She says only 30 percent of eligible students attend the federally funded Head Start program and less than three-fourths of eligible kindergartners attend school.

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