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June 5, 2014
A case study in Indiana State Board of Education dysfunction
How did a seemingly simple procedural change, one that Indiana State Board of Education members and state Superintendent Glenda Ritz unanimously favored, become a half-hour…
June 3, 2014
Questions remain as Indiana's NCLB deadline nears
Indiana now has less than a month to satisfy U.S. Department of Education concerns that have put it in jeopardy of facing federal sanctions, and…
May 23, 2014
Union calls on state board to drop teacher licensure plan
The Indiana State Teachers Association and others are pushing hard to try to stop what they view as a loosening of teacher certification rules, but so far most of the state board members who favor those changes are standing by them.
May 14, 2014
Ritz-led effort to block teacher certification changes narrowly fails
An effort to kill changes to teacher certification, led by state Superintendent Glenda Ritz, was narrowly defeated by the Indiana State Board of Education today. The debate centered on a proposed “career specialist” teacher license. The rules allow anyone with significant professional experience in a subject to teach. They do not need any background in teaching.
May 13, 2014
Ritz, state board at odds over what went wrong on NCLB
State Board of Education members sparred with state Superintendent Glenda Ritz and her staff today over why Indiana is in hot water with federal education officials. In a tense meeting reminiscent of last fall’s battles between Ritz and the rest of the board over who controlled state education policy, board members peppered the superintendent and her team with questions and challenged the veracity of their answers.
May 7, 2014
State board sets special meeting on NCLB waiver concerns
The Indiana State Board of Education will hold a special meeting on on Tuesday for board members to ask questions of state Superintendent Glenda Ritz…
May 2, 2014
New tensions begin to emerge over state's NCLB response
Gov. Mike Pence and state Superintendent Glenda Ritz put aside their 2013 squabbles to form an alliance for the fight over new state academic standards last month, but dividing lines between them may re-emerge as the state scrambles to respond to a warning from the federal government.
May 2, 2014
Feds put Indiana on notice: NCLB waiver in doubt
Indiana could face potentially severe sanctions under the federal No Child Left Behind law if it cannot satisfactorily answer U.S. Department of Education concerns in 60 days about its plans for instituting its new standards. On Thursday, Indiana State Superintendent Glenda Ritz received a letter from Deb Delisle, assistant U.S. secretary of education, spelling out concerns about “significant issues” with Indiana’s adherence to an agreement it made in with the federal government in 2012.
April 21, 2014
Indiana's proposed new standards enter critical phase
Even with few allies among either Common Core supporters or opponents, the new standards could still make it through a gauntlet over the next eight days that is expected to include votes by two government bodies. If both approve, the much-maligned standards will become the academic guidelines for Indiana educators beginning this summer despite all the backlash.
April 9, 2014
Indiana students will take two state tests in 2014-15
Indiana students will take at least two online, state-run standardized tests in 2014-15, and some state board members raised concerns today about a proposal to add a third test.
April 7, 2014
New evaluation system gives few Indiana teachers low grades
Nearly all rated educators were classified in the top two categories as effective or highly effective: a whopping 97 percent. That’s not exactly what state had in mind, leaving some leaders scratching their heads.
April 7, 2014
Teacher evaluation law under scrutiny
To some in Indiana, the high concentration of top educator ratings in the first year of a new evaluation system is perfectly reasonable. But to others, including those who helped overhaul the state's evaluation rules, the high scores are implausible given the performance of the state's schools. Those leaders are scratching their heads — and weighing changes to the law.
February 7, 2014
New state standards will be ready for review this month
Committees crafting new Indiana state academic standards expect to have a working draft by Feb. 14, state officials said today. Molly Chamberlin, chief assessment and…
November 13, 2013
Board tension explodes as Ritz walks out on meeting (updated)
State board members Cari Whicker (right) Dan Elsner (center) and B.J. Watts (obscured) speak with CECI attorney Michelle McKeown after State Superintendent Glenda Ritz walked out of the meeting. The Indiana State Board of Education descended into chaos Wednesday as Superintendent Glenda Ritz declared the meeting adjourned and walked out over the objections of the rest of the board. Rife with confusion, the remaining nine board members tried to press on until an attorney and a representative from Gov. Mike Pence's office advised them to end the meeting without further action. "We have debates every meeting between the State Board of Education's lawyers and the Department of Education's lawyers," an exasperated Ritz said just before leaving. "I'm taking this to the attorney general." Incredulous, board member Dan Elsener, who serves as secretary, tried to step in and continue the meeting. "This is bad governance, bad leadership and it's inappropriate," Elsener said. Debate throughout the three-hour meeting repeatedly came back to questions of control — who writes the official minutes, who sets the agenda, who gets to speak during discussion and which staff members get to have input into the board's decisions. On Tuesday, Ritz authored a newspaper guest column sharply criticizing Pence's push into education policy making as an "education takeover."
November 13, 2013
Deferring all tough issues, state board approves new A to F grading scale
At its most contentious meeting yet, the Indiana State Board of Education today did manage to pass one piece of business: a new scale for the state's A to F school grades. But amid tensions that ultimately left Superintendent Glenda Ritz storming out before the meeting ended, board members left nearly all the important details about how the grades will be calculated undecided. Among the questions left unanswered are whether Indiana will follow Common Common Core standards, how students will be tested and how student test score growth will be measured. Board members said they wanted a narrow vote aimed at fulfilling a law passed earlier this year that required new A to F rules by Nov. 14. "We have the beginning framework for a model," board member Brad Oliver said before the vote. "I would be comfortable affirming that if there is a path for us to take a collective deep breath and do what legislature wanted us to do." The one no vote to the resolution, which board members approved 9 to 1, came from Andrea Neal. She called the legislature's November deadline "unreasonable," arguing that a separate debate, about what academic standards Indiana will follow, should be completed before A to F rules are created. "How can we approve an accountability framework before we know to what standards students will be held accountable?" Neal asked.
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