Education

Activism among students and teachers has skyrocketed in recent weeks with strikes and walkouts across the country, and so far Indiana educators don’t have plans to join a growing number of movements in several states.

But Indiana State Teachers Association President Teresa Meredith says the widespread demonstrations are getting people’s attention.

“Most of the calls though are about 'what are we going to do, and when are we going to do it,' and so when I ask them why they’re asking the question, the responses vary,” she says.

The Senate education committee heard testimony on a bill to mandate schools teach computer science. It mandates computer science curriculum in elementary and middle school. It also requires it as an elective in high school, and it earmarks money for teacher training.

Technology companies, interest groups and computer science teachers supported Senate Bill 172 – including Brown County teacher Jacob Koressel.

Gov. Eric Holcomb sought in his State of the State to reassure Hoosiers his administration will do “whatever it takes” to fix problems at the Department of Child Services.

But Democratic legislative leaders say Holcomb’s address lacked boldness and leadership, particularly when it comes to the ongoing DCS crisis.

Lawmakers will consider legislation this session, that would create a type of early warning system to to help identify schools facing significant financial problems.

The state took over Gary and Muncie Community Schools last year after their finances reached crisis levels. Now, Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary) has filed legislation to prevent more major state takeovers by catching financial problems early. He says it’s a way the state could step in to help before it’s too late.

Republican Senate Leaders Outline 2018 Priorities

Jan 8, 2018

Senate Republican leaders outlined their 2018 priorities Monday. Those priorities include Sunday alcohol sales, the roll-out of mandated prescription monitoring to prevent opioid abuse, workforce development, and the regulation of property seizure.

Also included in those priorities is a bill to cover a school funding gap, by allowing the State Budget Agency to transfer reserve money.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce emphasized education in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, in its plans for the 2018 legislative session. Chamber Vice President of Education, Workforce Development & Federal Relations, Caryl Auslander, says a major focus is on making computer science a prerequisite for high school graduation.

“While there are STEM requirements for high school graduation, there is not a computer science requirement,” Auslander says. “And we believe that needs to change.”

An Indianapolis think tank wants to highlight what it calls successes and concerns across a wide range of areas in Indiana’s 11 largest cities – Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Muncie, Gary, Hammond, Carmel, Fishers, Evansville, South Bend, Lafayette and Bloomington.

Charter Schools USA could relinquish control of three Indianapolis schools in 2020 if the State Board of Education approves a proposal next week. Updated contracts between the Florida-based company and the state would require a transition of the schools back to control of Indianapolis Public Schools in three years.

Results from the first-ever study of Indiana’s school voucher system found negative academic effects among low-income students in math, but also showed the same students could match or outperform public school peers in English – if they remained in the private school long enough.

Indiana lawmakers want schools to develop more robust suicide prevention policies while teachers get training on the issue.

Rep. Julie Olthoff’s (R-Merrilville) bill requires several new steps to create suicide prevention programs. And Olthoff says the first step is creating a statewide suicide prevention coordinator.

“And then they’ll be able to disseminate information and hopefully prevent them,” Olthoff says.

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