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The news headlines coming out of Indianapolis about debateable treatment of Indiana’s school accountability system, put into the current mistakes with online ISTEP screening, have made a whirlwind of controversy. While there’s valid reason for the cloud of doubt and concern that’s been produced about our expectations, evaluation and accountability systems for K-12 training, we can’t let this noise distract us from the core mission for which these systems are intended.

Standards, assessments and accountability systems are a means to an end. Yes, we need clear, concise and jargon free standards that are internationally bench marked to establish what we want kids to know and be able to do at grade level by subject. Let’s not forget, however, Indiana has had academic standards that have been considered among the best in the nation since 2000.

Let’s also not forget that we have had various iterations of ISTEP in place since 1987. This assessment will continue to evolve or it should be replaced by a superior product that lowers the per student testing costs for which Indiana’s assessment is one of the more costly in the nation.

Read the full article here

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Common core withdrawal: out. Cursive handwriting: in. That’s the score following an Indiana Senate committee hearing yesterday.

The Indianapolis Star reports:

An effort to force Indiana to withdraw from “common core” education standards failed Wednesday, but the bill’s sponsor promised to try to revive it. // read more >

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In other news out of the Senate Education Committee yesterday, the panel approved a bill that calls for “giving schools that receive an A rating from the Indiana Department of Education flexibility to decide how to set up calendars and instructional time by removing the 180-day school-year requirement. Schools could vary instructional hours each day and how many days students must attend each week as long as total time equalled 180 days.” // read more >

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Beware, Franklin Township (and other townships looking to shore up funding gaps by charging for transportation): The Indiana General Assembly is coming for you. The Indianapolis Star reports:

The House Education Committee unanimously approved a bill Monday that would ban school corporations from charging fees for bus transportation. // read more >

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What do you think about this piece of legislation that would empower parents to trigger a school turnaround — and give them control over the process? The Associated Press brings us the details:

Indiana parents could soon have a direct say in turning public schools into charter schools. A measure being pushed in the Indiana House of Representatives would let them vote to turn public schools over to charter school operators. // read more >