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Indiana Department of Education
Student & School Performance
February 4, 2014
Senate votes to reject Common Core
Indiana legislators took a substantial step toward doing away with the Common Core today when the Senate voted to void the state's 2010 decision to adopt the learning standards. The 36-12 vote saw only Democrats vote against it. Under the bill, Indiana can no longer follow Common Core standards as of July 1.
Student & School Performance
February 3, 2014
State board could extend ISTEP, will review failing schools
ISTEP’s testing window could be extended by up to seven more days in March under a plan the Indiana State Board of Education will…
Leadership & Management
January 15, 2014
More A's and B's, fewer F's for Indiana school districts
Indiana school districts earned more A and B grades, and fewer D’s and F’s, than last year on their state report cards. The grades for…
November 12, 2013
Four things to watch for at Wednesday's state board meeting
Last week's state board meeting was long and tense. Can any discussion of the controversial A to F school grading rules in Indiana that involves the feuding state Superintendent Glenda Ritz, State Board of Education and Gov. Mike Pence's Center for Education and Career Innovation get anything accomplished? The tension is not abating. Just today, Ritz complained in an op-ed that Pence was trying to take over her duties. (Pence has already promised a response letter.) On Wednesday, all sides will have to come together if the state board is going to meet its Friday deadline under state law to deliver a new school grading formula for use going forward. After two straight contentious meetings, one lawsuit and one pseudo-legal complaint, the state board will meet for the second time in a week. Here's four things to watch for:
November 8, 2013
Judge dismisses Ritz's lawsuit against the state board
State Superintendent Glenda Ritz, left, at Friday's Indiana State Board of Education meeting. Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg dismissed state Superintendent Glenda Ritz's lawsuit against the Indiana State Board of Education today, saying she could not initiate a lawsuit without consulting with Attorney General Greg Zoeller. Ritz last month sued the other 10 members of the Indiana State Board of Education objecting to their effort to enlist legislative leaders to help calculate A to F grades for public and most private schools. Board members had complained Ritz was not working fast enough to issue the grades for schools; she said she had to wait for more data. After Friday's state board meeting, Ritz said she had not determined her next move. "This case was filed because I believed the board took illegal action outside of the public arena and that needed to be stopped," she said. "I am disappointed in today's ruling and concerned for all Hoosiers that have their lives affected by unelected boards, particularly those that act, perhaps, in secret." The suit was the apex of a long-running series of disputes between Ritz, the only Democrat in statewide office, and the rest of the board, all of whom are appointed by Republican governors. The suit argued that the board's letter to legislative leaders violated the state’s transparency laws. By jointly signing it, Ritz argued, the board effectively made a decision outside of a public meeting, which her suit contended a violation of state law. But Zoeller quickly moved to have the suit dismissed by arguing Ritz could not use Indiana Department of Education lawyers to file the suit. Zoeller argued that Ritz could only initiate a lawsuit with assistance from his office. Rosenberg agreed. In his decision, he said Ritz's arguments were "not consistent with the underlying purpose" of state law and that Zoeller's arguments were "more plausible."
November 5, 2013
Judge to Ritz's lawyers: How can she sue without Zoeller?
Ritz did not attend today's hearing, at which her lawyers argued her suit against the State Board of Education should be allowed to proceed. Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg had a tough question for state Superintendent Glenda Ritz today: Why should he let her lawsuit against the Indiana State Board of Education go forward? That was just one of the queries Rosenberg put before the department's staff lawyers that Ritz used to represent her over Attorney General Greg Zoeller's objections. If Ritz's legal team can't convince Rosenberg that they have a right to stick with the case, the suit that riled both sides of the aisle in the statehouse could be over by next week. Ritz last month sued the other 10 members of the Indiana State Board of Education in a protest of their push to move forward with calculating A to F grades for schools faster than Ritz had advocated. The lawsuit blew the lid off simmering tensions among Ritz and state board members, who disagree on a swath of education issues, from accountability to how to promote students between grades. Ritz's lawsuit targeted their latest disagreement. State board members have been frustrated that A to F grades for schools have not yet been released. But Ritz argues that problems with online testing last spring are the cause of the delay. Still, board members wrote a joint letter to legislative leaders asking them to have the Legislative Service Agency calculate the grades while Ritz was out of the country. In her lawsuit, Ritz argued that the move violated the state's transparency laws. By jointly signing a letter to lawmakers, she argued, the board effectively made a decision outside of a public meeting, which her suit contends is a violation of state law. In court today, discussion focused on whether Ritz has the right to file a lawsuit at all. The case was originally made by Zoeller, who asked the court to remove Ritz's attorneys from from the case, a step that would effectively end the suit altogether. Zoeller argued that Ritz could only initiate a lawsuit with assistance from his office.
October 31, 2013
Memo: Final 2012-13 A to F grades for all schools won't happen until 2014
State report cards, grading schools on an A to F scale, wouldn't be ready until Nov. 22 under state Superintendent Glenda Ritz's proposed timeline. (Morag Riddell/Flickr) StateImpact Indiana has posted a memo sent from the Indiana Department of Education to superintendents this week which spells out a proposed timeline for release of A to F grades to Indiana schools. The story outlines the key proposed dates:
October 29, 2013
Glenda Ritz says she won't back down from political foes
State Superintendent Glenda Ritz speaks with Chalkbeat's Scott Elliott in a WFYI sponsored event at the central library Tuesday. (WFYI) Indiana state Superintendent Glenda Ritz said in an interview Tuesday she would keep pushing her agenda despite pointed disagreements with the State Board of Education. Ritz said she believed she had significant support for her vision of educational change in Indiana, despite skepticism from her political opponents. Ritz, the only Democrat holding statewide office, also said she was not thinking about running for governor, as some of her supporters had hoped, in the wake of former gubernatorial candidate John Gregg's recent decision not to challenge Gov. Mike Pence in 2016. But she wouldn't rule it out.
October 28, 2013
Panel's A to F proposal would add new state tests
State Superintendent Glenda Ritz (center) and committee member Steve Baker (foreground) shared ideas at Monday's A to F accountability panel. State testing would be expanded with new exams in grades 1, 2, 9 and 11 in Indiana under a new school accountability proposal. Other proposed changes include a new method for measuring student test score gains, and giving extra credit to schools when student scores go up, and changing the grading scale for schools from 1 to 4 to 1 through 100. The recommendations come from a 17-member committee appointed by State Superintendent Glenda Ritz, Gov. Mike Pence and legislative leaders. The group's plan will be considered by the Indiana State Board of Education, which could accept, reject or revise it, next week. Then education department staff will do statistical analysis to verify the model works as anticipated. "This is the first phase of what we need to accomplish," Ritz said.
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