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KRUSE REPORT: Rewarding Academic Excellence in Hoosier Schools
Start Date: 1/18/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 1/18/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

By State Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn)

As always, education will be a hot topic among state lawmakers during the 2013 legislative session. Hoosier children are the future of this state and deserve the finest education possible to compete in a global economy. Our commitment to education is displayed through drafted legislation including Senate Bill 189.

Senate Bill 189 is aimed at further strengthening education in Indiana or giving top performing school corporations more flexibility in making administrative decisions. This includes developing their own curriculum and the ability to organize classroom time based on instructional minutes instead of the required 180 day standard. Additionally, top schools would be able to construct their own evaluation programs for teachers and staff.

According to SB 189, the requirements to be classified as a top performing school include:

  • At least 25 percent of graduating students must earn a grade of 3, 4, or 5 on at least one Advanced Placement exam or graduate with a technical honors diploma.
  • A district-wide graduation rate of 90 percent or higher.
  • The combined SAT scores of graduates must be higher than the statewide average.

Once certified as a top performing school district, certain benchmarks must be met every year in order to maintain that designation. These benchmarks require at least 85 percent of elementary and middle school students to receive passing ISTEP scores in English and mathematics. Additional measures call for at least 85 percent of high school students to earn passing marks in Algebra I and English 10. If these requirements have not been met, the school district will lose its exempt status and be subject to standard state rules.

Supporters of SB 189 believe this bill would give flexibility to teachers and administrators in schools that have demonstrated they provide exceptional education to students. Expanding flexibility to schools with a proven track record gives them an opportunity to bring new ideas, programs and teaching methods to classrooms while also providing high-performing schools with an opportunity to serve as models for statewide innovation and improvement.

Those opposing SB 189 believe legislation like this could work in theory but fail in reality. They believe that by focusing only on high performing schools, underperforming schools that need more help to succeed in education will be neglected. There is also belief that this and similar bills could permit manipulation of the system to further the education gap between high and low performing schools.

As the General Assembly discusses legislation such as SB 189 and others during this session, I welcome your thoughts and insight. What do you think?

Contact Information:
Name: Tracy Lytwyn
Phone: 317-234-9221
Email: tlytwyn@iga.in.gov
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Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • IN.gov Category:
  • Education & Training
  • Agency Name
    Senate Republican Caucus

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