Rise & Shine: Teachers struggle to pass state exams and 7 other things you should know about Indiana education

FROM VIOLENCE TO HIGH SCHOOL: When Indianapolis Public Schools opened its first school for students who are new to the country last fall, it expected about 80 students to enroll. But every week more students arrive, and the school now serves nearly 200. Many of those students are refugees or immigrants fleeing the drug cartels of Central America. We spent the day with a student who fled Honduras to join her mother in Indianapolis.

COULD ISTEP BECOME ILEARN?: We told you last month about a testing proposal that House lawmakers hope will succeed Indiana’s deeply unpopular ISTEP exam. Yesterday, the bill took a first step toward becoming law. Check out our story for what we know so far. Also, a story from WFYI.

DEVOS CONFIRMED: It’s official — Betsy DeVos, a Michigan billionaire, philanthropist and school choice advocate, is the next U.S. Secretary of Education — and Mike Pence broke the Senate tie. Yesterday, she gave her first speech as schools chief. We want to know, from our readers: What should DeVos know about public education? Share your story here.

SCHOOL CHOICE: After Sen. Al Franken condemned Indiana’s voucher program last week during Betsy DeVos’s hearing in the U.S. Senate Education Committee, an Indianapolis parent made a passionate argument for school choice by explaining how it benefited her family.

TEACHER TEST TROUBLES: While ISTEP has stolen the show when it comes to debates about state tests, teachers are also struggling to pass exams that lead to an Indiana teachers license. Read more from WTHR.

HOW IT WORKS: School funding can be pretty complicated. But since it is set to be a main priority for lawmakers this year as they write a new state budget, we want to help you out. Here’s what proposals are on the table so far, and how the system as a whole works, from Chalkbeat. Yesterday, legislators heard from school advocates, some who said the proposed funding increase is just not enough.

PRE-K PROPOSAL PASSES: Earlier this week, House legislators pushed through one of two major preschool plans. The problem? Well, for some, the fact that the bill also adds access to vouchers for private kindergarten is a sticking point. More from Chalkbeat, WFYI and an editorial from the Journal Gazette.

SCHOOL CLOSURE: Because of low enrollment, and Indianapolis charter school is planning to close by the end of this year. Full story from the Indy Star.