Dennis Kruse

Background Check Proposal To Prevent Sex Crimes In Schools

Feb 15, 2017

As Indiana lawmakers consider measures to strengthen the state’s background check laws, the Indiana Department of Education is investigating 85 cases of alleged educator misconduct, according to department officials.

Of the 85 licensed educators currently under investigation approximately 40 involve at least an allegation, if not charges, of sexual or inappropriate contact with a student.

“Teachers and employees at public schools, and other schools for that matter, are having wrongful relationships with the students,” says Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn).

Claire McInerny / IPBS

The ISTEP panel that is developing a legislative recommendation for how to replace the state’s testing system heard from a slew of national testing experts Tuesday, who make the most specific suggestions to date.

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The Department of Education is praising efforts in Indiana’s Senate to address school accountability this session, following a rocky year for the state’s standardized testing system. A bill lawmakers released Monday would hold schools harmless for their A-F accountability grade for the 2014-15 school year.

During the 2014-15 school year, Indiana transitioned to new academic standards and a statewide ISTEP+ test that faced a number of setbacks to administration and grading.  

Lawmakers Pass Dual Language Pilot Program

Apr 29, 2015
Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Lawmakers approved legislation Tuesday encouraging students to learn a second language.

The measure authorizes what’s called a dual language immersion pilot program.

Students in the immersion program would begin simultaneous instruction in two languages beginning in elementary school. The legislature is setting aside $500,000 in grants to pay for it.

Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, who authored the bill, says it could help Indiana graduates as they enter the job market.

Kruse, Ritz Agree On Benefits Of After-School Programs

Apr 13, 2015
Sharon Mollerus / https://www.flickr.com/photos/clairity/

Two sometime statehouse adversaries on education policy may join forces next year to seek state funding for an initiative they agree would benefit the state.

State school superintendent Glenda Ritz hasn‘t always seen eye to eye with Senate Education Chairman Dennis Kruse.

But they told an Indiana Afterschool Network conference they‘d like to see state funding for after-school programs.

Kruse says it won‘t be in this year‘s budget, but says he may introduce legislation next year.

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Turf war, moral imperative and a wolf in sheep’s clothing are all descriptions used to explain proposed legislation to overhaul the state intervention laws for failing schools. A bill that began as an initiative of Gov. Mike Pence has faced pushback and considerable changes from opponents --- and supporters alike.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are moving cautiously towards approving legislation that rewrites how the state intervenes in failing schools.

State lawmakers say the legislature could give Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne more autonomy and flexibility in funding and degree offerings. 

A legislative study committee was tasked this year with investigating the governance structure of the state’s regional university campuses.  And though its initial focus was broad, the committee has narrowed in on one location – IPFW, the state’s fifth largest college campus. 

In the wake of ISTEP testing disruptions that have called into question the validity of this year’s tests, the General Assembly this week will hold the first of two hearings investigating the issue.

Legislators initially hoped to have one comprehensive study committee hearing on ISTEP in June.  But with results of the tests and a third-party validation of those results not expected until July, Commission on Education co-chairs Representative Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) and Senator Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) will hold two meetings on the topic.

A new coalition of state policymakers and community activists wants to spend more time and money on addressing the Indiana workforce’s skills gap. 

The Indiana Skills2Compete Coalition is comprised of a bipartisan group of lawmakers, government officials, educators and community leaders.  The group is calling for an increased emphasis on middle-skills training, those jobs which require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.