By Sarah Ramon
The Senate Monday made no changes during the amendment phase to a bill that would prevent the 2015 ISTEP scores from having a negative impact on Indiana schools.
If scores for the 2014-2015 school year are lower than the previous year’s scores, Senate Bill 200 will allow the Department of Education to maintain the higher grade.
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said she believes the actions of the bill are “much-needed relief.”
“Indiana’s schools, educators and communities simply cannot be blamed for mandated changes in standards and assessments,” Ritz said in a statement. “As you know, I’ve been pushing for this for over a year and a half and I have been pleased to see recent legislative momentum behind this bipartisan, commonsense approach.”
SB 200 passed through the committee last week. Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, was the only committee member to vote no to the bill at that time.
“My point in the ‘no vote’ in committee was to express the confidence in the fact that accountability is a good thing,” Schneider said.
He understands the accuracy issues of recent ISTEP scores but believes the state should be cautious about deviating from responsibility.
“Nobody wants to hold teachers or students accountable in [this] scenario and punish them for [this] but at the same time, somebody, somewhere messed up,” Schneider said. “Somebody needs to stand up.”
If passed, the Indiana Department of Education will have to apply for a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education in order to put the change into effect. The USDOE requires states with new assessments to apply for waivers in order to delay the assignment of grades.
Sarah Ramon is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students.