Education

10 School Districts Posing Referenda Tuesday

Apr 28, 2017

School districts across the state are once again asking voters to help fund public schools, with nine districts asking for property tax increases Tuesday.

School districts can ask voters through a ballot referenda process to raise property taxes to help fund their schools. Basically, the ballot question asks voters to pay more in property taxes so the schools have more funding.

Holcomb Signs Indiana Pre-K Bill Signed Into Law

Apr 27, 2017

With little fanfare, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill Wednesday that will expand Indiana’s pre-K pilot program.

The new plan will expand state-funded preschool to 20 counties, tie it to the state’s private school voucher program and include a controversial option for online preschool.

Currently, the $10 million state-funded On My Way Pre-K program serves around 2,000 low-income students in five counties. Expanding preschool access in Indiana has been a key goal of lawmakers this session, including Holcomb.

A state board that authorizes charter schools voted Monday to cancel plans for a group of Indianapolis business professionals to open schools in Marion and Clark counties.

The reason?

Legislation To End ISTEP Sent To Governor

Apr 22, 2017

It’s (almost) official. ISTEP+ is out. ILEARN is in.

Lawmakers pushed through legislation Friday to develop new statewide testing program known as Indiana’s Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network or ILEARN. The legislation also creates multiple pathways to meet high school graduation requirements.

 

Muncie Schools are pushing back against a bill in the legislature that would allow the state to intervene in the district’s finances.

An Indianapolis Public Schools task force says over the next ten years so few students are expected to be enrolled, that only four out of seven district high schools will be needed.

One of the biggest education bills this session seeks to expand the current pre-K pilot program, but the current version of the bill includes funding a new, home school preschool option.

One part of the bill allocates $1 million per year for digital preschool services for families to use at home.

Prayer In School Bill Heads To Indiana Gov. Holcomb

Apr 13, 2017

Bipartisan legislation that seeks to protect religious freedom for students has been sent to Gov. Eric Holcomb.

The bill by Indianapolis Democratic Rep. John Bartlett says traditional public and charter schools can not discriminate against students or parents because of their religious beliefs. It also asserts students’ right to wear religious clothing and express their beliefs in class writings.

Bartlett has said a lack of faith by teens and young adults has resulted in social ills such as drug use and killings.

FAFSA Filing Deadline is April 15 In Indiana

Apr 13, 2017

This Saturday is the deadline for Indiana students to fill out their application for college financial aid, including the federal Pell Grant.

To receive financial aid for college, students must complete the FAFSA — that’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

“Every prospective college student—whether they’re a high school senior or a returning adult—should complete the FAFSA,” Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said.

School Explores Benefits Of Teaching With Music

Apr 13, 2017

 

From the parking lot at Tindley Genesis Academy in Indianapolis – you can hear music.

Outside of the school, it’s a dull thumping, but once you enter the front door, drumming, shrieking and synchronized chanting greets you – before the secretary has a chance to say hello.

It’s coming from the gym.

Second through fourth grade classes stand on the sidelines of the basketball court, drumming, dancing and taking turns singing their class chants.

Black Students With One Black Teacher More Likely To Graduate

Apr 10, 2017

There’s a new study out and it finds black students who have just one black teacher in elementary school are less likely to drop out and are significantly more likely to graduate high school.

The study’s major takeaways:

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act mandates how states’ hold their schools accountable.

This fall the Indiana Department of Education will submit its plan as required by the law for how to will improve graduation rates, increase English-language proficiency and offer help to the lowest-performing schools – among many other issues.

This Week At The Statehouse: Education Spending, ISTEP+

Apr 7, 2017

Amid uncertainty over the future of many education issues in Indiana, lawmakers were busy at the Statehouse this week.

Lawmakers in the House chambers dove into a controversy around “sanctuary campuses.” The Senate finished the week by placing its stamp on the House budget and two of the session’s most controversial proposals: an appointed superintendent and ISTEP replacement.

Senate Budget Increases Education Spending By 3 Percent

 

It’s just after 7:30 a.m in Andy Slater’s ninth grade science class. Students sit on their chairs in a circle – they play a few quick word games where they ask each other basic questions.

But there’s one catch.

“Come on in English, in Inglés,” Slater says.

Slowly the chatter in Spanish, Swahili and other languages dies down.  Then one student standing in the middle of the circle slowly says: “Big wind blows if you like school.”

Students jump up to move to an open seat if they agree with what the standing student says – sort of like musical chairs.

Muncie Schools Added to Bill Despite District Opposition

Apr 3, 2017

An Indiana House committee has voted to amend a bill that if passed would allow a state takeover of Muncie Community Schools to right its financial crisis.

The House Ways and Means Committee added the Muncie school district to a bill that already passed the Senate. It would allow a state takeover of Gary Community School Corporation, for financial reasons, and Committee Chair Republican Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) extended it to include Muncie Community Schools.

Senate Endorses Amended Version Of House Pre-K Bill

Mar 30, 2017

The Indiana Senate approved legislation for state-funded preschool that offers far less financial support than what House lawmakers and Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb had sought.

Throughout the session, Republican Senate lawmakers have been adamant: We don’t want to double the funding for the state’s preschool pilot program.

Senate Panel Moves Forward ISTEP Replacement Bill

Mar 29, 2017

A bill to overhaul Indiana’s standardized testing system passed out of a Senate committee Wednesday, but some lawmakers say the legislation does little to clear up concerns with over testing.

House Bill 1003 sets up guidelines for a new state test that will replace the ISTEP+ and graduation requirement exams by 2019.

Bill Would Track When Officers Restrain, Seclude Kids At School

Mar 28, 2017

Indiana lawmakers may require schools to provide more information about a controversial practice: secluding and restraining children.

Under state law, physical restraints and seclusion may only be used as a last resort to calm students and never to discipline. The state requires schools to report all uses of seclusion and restraint by school staff. The practices are generally used for students with severe disabilities who have violent outbursts.

Indiana schools stand to lose about $56 million for teacher training and after school programs for low-income students, under proposed budget cuts by President Donald Trump’s administration.

Jennifer McCormick, Indiana superintendent of public instruction, says the proposed budget would be “a big hit” to the state. She says cuts would hamper efforts to attract teachers, stifle new programs under a new federal education law and reduce programs for low-income students.

Legislation that would offer high school journalists the same legal protections as professional journalists moved closer to law today.

House Bill 1130 would prevent public K-12 schools from disciplining students for expressing their First Amendment rights in a school-funded publication.

Committee Chairman Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) proposed an amendment to let the State Board of Education decide disputes.

Proposed legislation that would require guidelines for religious expression in public schools passed the Senate Education Committee, with an amendment altering the original intent.

House Bill 1024 would protect open prayer and religious dress, writings or other religious expression in schools.

Manufacturing companies all over the state have open positions and can’t find qualified workers to fill them. These jobs require specialized training because the new world of manufacturing requires more technology-based skills. So companies are finding new opportunities to teach them.

THE PROBLEM IN ONE MANUFACTURING TOWN

Federal Budget Puts Low-Income College Grants On Chopping Block

Mar 21, 2017

The newest federal budget presented by President Donald Trump dramatically reduces money for grants designed to help low-income students go to college.

The budget would eliminate the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, money for students with exceptional financial need, and proposes a $3.9 billion reduction in Pell Grants, the primary federal college grant program.

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Nic McPhee / https://www.flickr.com/photos/nicmcphee

Purdue University plans to extend its tuition freeze into the 2018-2019 school year.

President Mitch Daniels made the announcement of a sixth year of tuition flatlining Monday, touting the amount of money the school says students and their families have saved as a result.

The Senate sponsor of a bill ensuring freedom of the press for students says he anticipates a relatively easy path through his chamber.

The proposed legislation would affect student-produced media in grades 5 and up and says schools cannot suppress it unless it’s libelous or profane. House sponsor Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany) says journalism education is more important than ever.

McCormick Asks For 2019 Start Date For New Test, Not 2018

Mar 16, 2017

State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick asked a Senate education committee Wednesday to extend the timeline for creating a test to replace ISTEP+.

The Senate is considering a House bill that would, once again, revamps the state assessment, the ISTEP+. The current version of the bill has students taking the new test next year. This concerns McCormick and others at the Department of Education.

A Senate Committee slashed funding Wednesday from a House bill that sought to double the state’s preschool pilot program.

Senate lawmakers wasted little time amending House Bill 1004 to mirror their own version of legislation to expand state-funded preschool and offer additional funding to other early learning initiatives.

At the halfway point in the legislative session, the bills passed in the first half, by House or Senate, move on to the other chamber.  So this week, a few education bills that made that cut got their first hearing in the House or Senate education committees.

The House committee only heard two Senate bills this week, one regarding emergency medications in schools and another on 529 savings plans.

The second half of the legislative session begins this week, and the House and Senate have two very different bills to expand state funded pre-K.

Both bills passed out of their original chambers and are now being considered by the opposite chamber of the statehouse. Before the session, both Republicans and Democrats supported expanding the pilot program and allocating more money for preschool scholarships for low-income children.

Let’s take a look at these two pre-K proposals and where each bill stand now:

Adding Vouchers To The Pre-K Equation

For the first time the number of Hoosier students using publicly-funded vouchers to attend a private school reached 3 percent of statewide enrollment, according to a new report.

Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program hit a record 34,299 students this academic year using the controversial tuition support but the overall growth of the program appears to be slowing down.

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