Jan 30, 2015
Yesterday, the House Education Committee heard HB 1486which transfers authorities and roles from the Indiana Department of Education (DOE) to the governor’s appointed State Board of Education (SBOE). In some cases, some authority will be transferred from local school boards to the SBOE.
The bill includes a number of authority transfer provisions:
- Makes the SBOE the state educational authority under FERPA for data access, shifting the role of the State Education Agency to the SBOE.
- Removes local control over teacher evaluations and allows the SBOE to set the range for objective student data that must “significantly inform” evaluations.
- Allows the SBOE to hire an executive director and additional staff, which raises the question about whether the governor’s intent to dissolve CECI will really result in any substantive changes.
- Shifts ISTEP authority from DOE to the SBOE.
- Gives all aspects of the operation and implementation of turnaround academies i.e., takeover schools to the SBOE.
- Transfers authority over the determination of tested subjects to the SBOE.
- Codifies IREAD 3 by the SBOE – a test that provides no useful data to educators regarding student reading ability other than a simplistic pass/fail metric.
The bill also makes changes to the A-F accountability system. It removes a section prohibiting the use of peer growth comparisons and deleting individual student performance comparisons. This language essentially undoes months of work by the Accountability Panel (and voted on 16-1) along with previous legislation to improve the A-F model. If the bill passes, it will revert back to the old metrics instead of measuring pre- and post-test individual student-level growth.
The SBOE is pushing HB 1486 and relegates DOE to the role of administrative assistant. The wide-ranging bill alarmed some members of the committee.
“What you are doing is making the superintendent a clerical assistant,” said Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary. “You make her do the work and the decisions are made by the state Board.”
Rep. Terry Austin, D-Anderson questioned currently appointed board member Dr. Brad Oliver about whether Superintendent Ritz was involved in the SBOE’s legislative recommendations for this bill, but it was clear from Oliver’s response that her input was overlooked. Oliver was the sole supporter of the bill in committee.
Please contact members of the House Education Committee and urge legislators to vote against HB 1486. The bill will be voted on Thursday, Jan. 29.