6 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT INDIANA EDUCATION

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY: While school finance issues have been anything but stagnant in Indiana, the structure of how schools budget locally has seen fewer fundamental changes — until, perhaps, now. Lawmakers have a new proposal on the table that they say would add flexibility to local spending and drive more dollars to the classroom. But questions remain about how the system would work and whether the benefits for kids would be noticeable. We’ll keep following this issue, but read more about the proposal here.

CALLING ALL HOOSIERS: TeachPlus Indianapolis has been preparing Marion County teachers to advocate for education policy for nearly a decade. For the first time, the group is welcoming 20 teachers from across the state as policy fellows. Among their ranks is one notable educator — the 2016 Indiana Teacher of the Year. Jean Russell told Chalkbeat that until she became teacher of the year, she had little interest in education policy.

“I just thought it was something that happened to you and you just work within those parameters,” she said. “For the first time in 26 years, I’m realizing that that’s not necessarily the case.”

STATE > NATIONAL?: Where does the most important education policy get made? Hint — In Indiana, it’s probably in Indianapolis. National education leaders (and potential ones) can be influential, but state education officials in capitol buildings across the country likely make the bulk of the decisions that affect local schools, teachers, families and communities. Check it out.

MODEL BEHAVIOR: Education officials in Kentucky are looking to Indiana as they get ready to consider what a charter school program could look like in their state. Indiana’s charter schools have seen explosive growth in the past several years.

INAUGURATION DAY: Some Hoosier students got the chance to attend Friday’s presidential inauguration, but for many kids, it was school as usual. That didn’t stop educators from seizing the opportunity to connect current events with their curriculum. Read more from WISH-TV here.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: The state’s preschool program is now accepting applications from low-income families from Allen, Jackson, Marion, Lake and Vanderburgh counties. Details on how to apply here.

 

COMING UP…

The Indianapolis Public Schools Board will not be voting this month on whether to restart three struggling schools, but the board will hear a recommendation on which schools to restart from Superintendent Lewis Ferebee at the meeting 6 p.m. Thursday. Follow @dylanpmccoy and @ShainaRC on Twitter for the latest.