Friday, January 31, 2014

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #170 – January 31, 2014

Dear Friends,

Your messages in opposition to SB 322 had a positive impact on Wednesday. The Senate Education Committee deleted the outrageous section of SB 322 that would have allowed voucher schools to ignore both ISTEP and the A-F school letter grade system.

What was left of the bill passed on a party line vote, prompting the need for more messages to kill the bill on the floor of the Senate early next week. We can be happy, however, that the effort to let voucher schools off the hook on ISTEP accountability and school letter grades has failed for now.

Public school advocates are incredulous they even tried.

Senate Bill 322

I couldn’t resist the urge to give you all the details on this one. The story is too rich for a brief summary, including a twist that I have never before observed on a bill in committee.

Senate Bill 322, clearly a key bill to ease the path for private schools in becoming eligible for vouchers and to further privatize the schools of Indiana, was scheduled as the last bill in an overcrowded agenda of eleven bills. I have no doubt this scheduling was by design. Few can stay to the end of long meetings to testify against such things. This meeting lasted over five hours, beginning at 1:30pm and adjourning at 6:45pm. Chairman Kruse was finally ready for SB 322 at 6:20pm.

Senator Schneider, the bill’s sponsor, offered an amendment to make the bill apply only to schools already eligible for vouchers on January 1, 2014, saying this would stop any new fiscal costs. The amendment was approved by consent.

Then he offered a second amendment which was more complex and was not distributed to the audience. Under this amendment, the line saying that voucher schools were not required to do IDOE paperwork would apply to voucher schools that are accredited by agencies other than the state. If they were state accredited they would continue to respond to all requirements. He said reporting requirements have become “onerous” and that some voucher schools have had to hire help to complete the reports. The amendment was approved by a vote of 9-3.

Then Senator Kenley asked about the lines changing the requirement of ISTEP, asking if we don’t need to give everybody the same test. Senator Schneider had not mentioned this key element about testing as he introduced the bill.

Senator Schneider described how the state dictates to eligible voucher schools through the assessment process. By requiring ISTEP, he said, the state can dictate the standards and the curriculum. He said voucher schools have now learned this with the introduction of the Common Core. He said that Florida allows an alternative test in their voucher program as proposed in this bill.

Florida. Once again, Florida is held up as a model for Indiana.

Other committee members weren’t buying his argument. Senator Broden asked why not “let all schools have an alternative test.”? Senator Schneider said that would be the basis for a good discussion, hinting that he is ready to question ISTEP accountability for all schools. He said that “standards change” but tests should “not change.” He said if it is a quality alternative assessment and students are “proving proficient” on it, “it should be OK with the state of Indiana.”

Think about that one.

Senator Rogers said that taking the same test would help students. Senator Leising questioned whether we could still grade schools if the school didn’t take ISTEP. By this time, several side consultations we going on among Senators. After a consultation between Senator Schneider and Chairman Kruse, Senator Schneider announced he had brought along a third amendment which deleted all references to substituting an alternative test for ISTEP. Other Senators of both parties looked relieved that he was giving up on his quest to allow voucher schools to ignore accountability on ISTEP, and they quickly agreed by consent to his amendment to “remove the testing component”.

Then something happened that I have never seen in my eighteen years of watching the General Assembly. Listen to this one:

Chairman Kruse announced that it was so late that members of the committee had to leave, so he would call for the vote now before they left and then he would stay to listen to anyone who came to testify.

I thought to myself that the drive to pass this bill certainly seemed strong, testimony or no testimony.

His announcement met with enough grumbling from committee members and a general buzz in the room that he changed his mind slightly and said that we would have one person testify on each side of the issue before the vote, with testimony to be limited to two minutes. He then called on the attorney that had apparently inspired Senator Schneider to introduce the bill who held up and described onerous paperwork that his client schools had do for the English Language Learner (ELL) program. He described long applications and data collection requirements that he believed were unfair to the voucher schools. He had far more than two minutes to say, and when he talked through Chairman Kruse’s request to conclude and was still going strong, Chairman Kruse gestured to me from the podium while the testimony continued to come forward to speak against the bill.

When my predecessor decided to relinquish the podium, I first thanked Senator Schneider for amending the bill to delete the section allowing voucher schools to ignore ISTEP. I said there is absolutely no need to pass the rest of the bill, because paperwork is inevitable if voucher schools take state money for programs like ELL, and taxpayer accountability requires that they fill out the forms needed. I said if they don’t feel like doing the paperwork, they should not apply to be an eligible voucher school. They should not be given the right to ignore needed reports via this bill.

My written testimony on the original bill which included secession from ISTEP is attached.

Chairman Kruse then called for the vote. All eight Republicans were still present and all voted “Yes.” Three Democrats were still present and all voted “No.” The bill passed 8-3.

Then as Senators on the committee left, others who had signed up to testify were called. The first three said they supported the bill without further comment. Then seven were called who had signed up in opposition to the bill: Chuck Little of the Indiana Urban Schools Association, Joel Hand of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, Sally Sloan of the American Federation of Teachers-Indiana, Roni Embry of the Indiana State Teachers Association, Todd Bess of the Indiana Association of School Principals, Scott Tourney of the Small and Rural Schools Association and J.T. Coopman of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents. All who stayed to the end should be commended for sitting through over five hours of the meeting only to be told the vote would be taken before the testimony.

After listening to the hearing, it seems clear that the proposal to drop ISTEP was prompted by private schools that didn’t want the Common Core to influence them via ISTEP. Secession from ISTEP was not received well by the committee. What is left in SB 322 resulted from two schools hiring a lawyer because they thought that the IDOE was giving them too much ELL paperwork. There is already language in Indiana law, added in the 2011 voucher law by a 2011 amendment from Senator Schneider, which says: (IC 20-51-4-1)
the creation of the choice scholarship program does not expand the regulatory authority of the state, the state's officers, or a school corporation to impose additional regulation of nonpublic schools beyond those necessary to enforce the requirements of the choice scholarship program in place on July1, 2011
Apparently the schools and their lawyer decided it would be cheaper and easier to solve their paperwork problem by passing a new state law than by filing suit.

Why can’t public schools have that kind of access to power in the legislature?

Senate Bill 282

The other voucher bill, SB 282, was taken up next to last, about 6:10pm. Senator Eckerty, the sponsor, said it simply reflected current practice. Chuck Little and I testified that it therefore wasn’t needed. Joel Hand, lobbyist for ICPE, testified that the Attorney General’s opinion issued last summer did not recommend any change in state law. All three of us said that if voucher schools are going to take money for special education students, they should comply with facility standards for the disabled under the Americans for Disabilities Act, as all public schools must do.
 
The bill passed 7-4, with seven Republicans voting “Yes” and four Democrats voting “No”.

Next Steps

Both SB 322 and SB 282 will be going to the Senate floor on Monday for second reading and then third reading the next day. Public school advocates should continue to send notes of opposition. While SB 322 has been defanged, it could remain a vehicle for other voucher amendments in the House. The secession from ISTEP concept could be added back into the bill at any time.

I urge your continued messages of opposition to both bills.

Thanks for reading to the end, and thanks for your active support of public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. The 2014 session of the General Assembly has begun. Joel Hand will again serve as ICPE lobbyist for the session. We need your membership to help support his work. Many have renewed their memberships this fall, and we thank you! If you have not done so since July 1, the start of our new membership year, we urge you to renew by going to our website.

As the session begins, ICPE has about half of what we will need to fund our lobbying efforts, a vast improvement over previous sessions in 2011, 2012 and 2013 when we started from zero each session. With your membership support, we have raised the money each session, and we must do so again. We need additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998.
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #169 – January 28, 2014

Dear Friends,

For your immediate attention tonight and tomorrow:

Two voucher expansion bills have been scheduled for hearings tomorrow that deserve your immediate action tonight to contact members of the Senate Education Committee:

Senate Bill 322, scheduled for a hearing Wednesday, Jan. 29th at 1:30pm, would make it easier to become a voucher school by removing the requirement to give ISTEP. The bill would allow private schools to be eligible for the voucher program if they administer “a nationally norm-referenced test approved by the state board.”

By removing the ISTEP requirement, these private voucher schools would no longer receive school letter grades. Current voucher schools would be allowed to stop taking ISTEP and to stop getting a school letter grade while retaining their eligibility for voucher money. This is a giant step backward on accountability in the voucher program and would be completely unfair to all other schools who must take ISTEP.

Senate Bill 282, scheduled for the same Wednesday hearing at 1:30pm, is simply not necessary. It rewrites law to restate current practice with vouchers for special education students. A dispute over the rules for special education vouchers last summer prompted an Attorney General’s ruling that special education students under current language could get a voucher at a private school and then could opt to have special education services provided either at the private school or at the local public school.

This bill confirms current practice, so there is no need for the bill, but since voucher proponents want to reopen the issue, we should require private schools who want to enroll special education students to meet the building standards of the Americans for Disability Act, as all public schools must do. Private schools should not get tax dollars to serve the special education population if they are not equipped to help all handicapped students.

These bills are part of the never-ending march led by Gov. Pence, Speaker Bosma and President Pro Tempore Long to expand vouchers and to privatize public education.

The Senate Education and Career Development Committee will hear these and other bills at 1:30pm tomorrow, Wednesday, January 29th in the Senate Chamber.

Before then, I hope all who support public education and oppose any further expansion of vouchers will contact members of the Senate Education Committee with a clear message:

Reject Senate Bills 322 and 282.

Senate Bill 322

As Indiana jettisons a flawed A-F system that failed because it was rooted in norm-referenced measures, this bill sponsored by Senator Schneider and Senator Banks comes along to claim that accountability using a “nationally norm-referenced test” is just fine. Indiana stopped using norm-referenced tests for accountability purposes over a decade ago. The thought that voucher schools could take state money for private school tuition but not be held accountable on ISTEP tests should outrage every taxpayer.

Some private schools don’t like ISTEP because it may potentially be linked with the Common Core, and they oppose the Common Core. However the battle over the Common Core comes out, ISTEP is Indiana’s test based on the standards approved by the State Board. There should be no other measuring stick for accountability in Indiana. Allowing voucher schools to substitute the Iowa Test of Basic Skills for ISTEP is totally inappropriate and unfair to all other schools in the competitive marketplace of schools that Indiana has created.

The bill adds the following line: “The department (1) may not require an eligible school to report any information that is not necessary to carry out this chapter; and (2) shall reduce undue reporting burdens on eligible schools.” The key questions here are: Who decides what information is “necessary”? And who decides what is “undue”? If private schools are taking tax money, they should provide information as needed to show accountability for the public money. If they ever thought public money would come with absolutely no strings attached, they did not understand that taxpayers need to know that their tax money is being spent appropriately.

This bill should be rejected. We must maintain accountability through ISTEP for all voucher schools. If the Senate has lost faith in ISTEP, then all schools should be allowed to use an alternative test.

Senate Bill 282

Last summer’s argument over special education vouchers ended with a clear statement from the Attorney General about how the law should be interpreted. SB 282 sponsored by Senator Eckerty simply reflects that interpretation, so the bill is not necessary. It does raise the question, though, about how private schools can be allowed to get full tuition plus special education funds for disabled students without having a facility that complies with the Americans for Disability Act.

In 2011, the House passed the historic voucher bill with a provision that private schools must comply with ADA facility standards in order get voucher money. Several members of the House said how important that point was to them in voting for the bill. Then in the Senate, the ADA facility requirement was dropped and disappeared.

It makes no sense that private schools are serving disabled students, taking the state’s foundation money plus the special education grant, when the private school facilities do not meet the ADA standards that every public school has to meet.

This bill should be rejected. It is not needed. It describes what is already in the rules. It fails to require that schools serving disabled students comply with the ADA facility standards, just as House members voted in 2011.

Please contact members of the Senate Education Committee and other Senators as soon as possible. Of course, if you read this after tomorrow’s hearing, it would still help if they know of your opposition to SB 322 and SB 282 in the days ahead.

Thank you for your support of public education and your opposition to voucher expansion!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. The 2014 session of the General Assembly has begun. Joel Hand will again serve as ICPE lobbyist for the session. We need your membership to help support his work. Many have renewed their memberships this fall, and we thank you! If you have not done so since July 1, the start of our new membership year, we urge you to renew by going to our website.

As the session begins, ICPE has about half of what we will need to fund our lobbying efforts, a vast improvement over previous sessions in 2011, 2012 and 2013 when we started from zero each session. With your membership support, we have raised the money each session, and we must do so again. We need additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998.
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #168 – January 27, 2014

Dear Friends,

I am happy to report that I believe your notes and emails last night and this morning on House Bill 1320 made a difference. In the House Education Committee meeting this morning, Chairman Behning opened up discussion of his bill by saying that what he meant all along would be that the Indiana Department of Education would improve access to student records, not the State Board of Education. He offered an amendment to HB 1320 that took out every reference to “State Board” actions and replaced each reference with “Indiana Department of Education.” His amendment was approved.

Then at the end of the testimony, Chairman Behning held the bill and did not take a vote.

His actions this morning have at least for now taken student test records out of the center of a potential conflict between the Indiana Department of Education controlled by State Superintendent Ritz and the State Board of Education controlled by Governor Pence.

I want to thank all those who sent last minute messages to legislators on HB 1320.

Access to Student Records


What is left in HB 1320 is an effort to improve access to student records to help parents and to help schools that need the records of transfer students. No one appeared this morning to support that concept or to explain why what we are doing now is inadequate. For the $3.7 million dollar price tag, legislators need to know that this is a high priority, so that they might support the expenditure of that much money when they have found no money for several years to support teacher professional development.

Even the Senator Ford Technology Fund which provides money in the state budget to schools statewide for much-needed technology and computer upgrades is funded at only $3.1 million each year. The General Assembly for reasons hard to understand in this age of technology has actually reduced technology funding for several budgets in a row.

Chairman Behning also added Rep. Thompson’s bill on data security to HB 1320. That amendment was taken by consent.

The future of HB 1320 needs to be tracked. At least for now, student data records are not the center of a dispute over the authority of the Indiana Department of Education. That is definitely good news.

Thank you for your messages to legislators in support of wise policies and strong public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. The 2014 session of the General Assembly has begun. Joel Hand will again serve as ICPE lobbyist for the session. We need your membership to help support his work. Many have renewed their memberships this fall, and we thank you! If you have not done so since July 1, the start of our new membership year, we urge you to renew by going to our website.

As the session begins, ICPE has about half of what we will need to fund our lobbying efforts, a vast improvement over previous sessions in 2011, 2012 and 2013 when we started from zero each session. With your membership support, we have raised the money each session, and we must do so again. We need additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998.
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #167 – January 26, 2014

Dear Friends,

This deserves your immediate attention and action tonight to contact members of the House Education Committee:

House Bill 1320, scheduled for a hearing tomorrow (Monday, Jan. 27th) at 8:30 am, would put control of a new system to expand access to student records in the hands of the State Board, not the Indiana Department of Education. For the first time, it would make the State Board an administrative agency, replacing student data functions that have always been controlled by the Indiana Department of Education. The expanded data access through this data warehouse will cost $3.7 as projected by the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency, requiring an independent computer staff for the State Board with a new stand alone computer system. The duplication of services is obvious.

The $3.7 million price tag is more than the current entire annual budget for the State Board of $3 million.

This is a major salvo in the battle to move functions out of the Indiana Department of Education under the control of State Superintendent Ritz and into the domain of the State Board controlled by Governor Pence.

Rep. Behning has scheduled House Bill 1320 for a hearing on Monday Jan. 27th at 8:30 am in the House Education Committee in Room 156-C.

Before that time, I hope all who believe that student data is too sensitive and too important to become a political football in the Governor’s power grab will contact members of the House Education Committee with a simple message: Withdraw or defeat HB 1320.

Expanded Access

The bill purports to improve parent access to student data and to help transfer data among schools. If that is truly a bigger priority problem in a state that has no money for teacher professional development or for preschool, lawmakers could give the $3.7 million for computer work required by this bill to the Indiana Department of Education, the current trustee of student records.

This bill doesn’t do that. It gives the authority and the resources to the State Board, a policy making board that now for the first time would become an administrative agency with complete control over student records. This would be a monumental shift in authority and makes the bill a power grab to boost the control of the State Board over the IDOE.

This would be the first time that the Indiana General Assembly has assigned an administrative function to the State Board. The State Board is authorized by law as a policy board. It is hard to believe that the General Assembly really wants to make the State Board an administrative agency as well, setting up total confusion about the administrative roles of IDOE in relation to the State Board.

The Risk of HB1320

In this proposed bill, Rep. Behning and the Governor are playing with fire. If the parents and teachers of Indiana’s students come to believe for one minute that student test data are being used as a wedge in a political dispute between Governor Pence and State Superintendent Ritz, the trust built up over two decades that student data is being handled impartially and appropriately could vanish overnight. If parents sense that the data of their students are being used for political purposes, they may well demand that any test results be given only to them and for use by their local school, and not for state use. Such a step would collapse the entire accountability movement that this General Assembly has slowly built since the A+ program of 1987.

There must be no hint of political maneuvering related to student test data. This bill has politics written all over it and must be turned down by this committee.

There is no reason to involve any agency other than the Indiana Department of Education in student records. IDOE’s work in handling student data has been accurate and above reproach. Any claim to the contrary has been made for political purposes to support a takeover of data by the Center for Education and Career Innovation, to further undermine the authority of Superintendent Ritz. This bill puts at risk the faith and trust of parents in state authorities that has taken years to establish.

The Development of Parent Trust in State Records

I am old enough to remember well a time when Indiana did not have a state test. When I began my career in Indiana in the 1960’s, all testing was local testing, and local parents and teachers could assess the progress of their students. There was great mistrust in that era that state test results kept in the Statehouse might be used inappropriately by people that did not have local ties and might not have the best interests of the students in mind. It took years of patient reassurance that the privacy and sanctity of state test scores would be maintained. State tests were introduced in the mid-1980’s and student ID numbers allowing the state to track individual students by number were introduced around 2002, based on the availability of high speed computers. Approval of that step required tremendous trust on the part of parents. This bill could put that trust in jeopardy overnight.

Why does anyone other than IDOE need to supervise student data? They don’t. I have observed over many years that the Indiana Department of Education takes very seriously the trust that is placed in them to maintain the accuracy and the privacy of student data.

Please contact members of the House Education Committee and other House members as soon as possible. Of course, if you read this after tomorrow’s hearing, it would still help if they know of your opposition to HB 1320 in the days ahead.

Student data must not be made part of a political tug-of-war, but this bill does that. HB 1320 is unwise public policy and should be withdrawn or defeated. Let legislators know how you feel about it.

Thank you for your advocacy for wise policies and strong public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. The 2014 session of the General Assembly has begun. Joel Hand will again serve as ICPE lobbyist for the session. We need your membership to help support his work. Many have renewed their memberships this fall, and we thank you! If you have not done so since July 1, the start of our new membership year, we urge you to renew by going to our website.

As the session begins, ICPE has about half of what we will need to fund our lobbying efforts, a vast improvement over previous sessions in 2011, 2012 and 2013 when we started from zero each session. With your membership support, we have raised the money each session, and we must do so again. We need additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998.
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #166 – January 21, 2014

Dear Friends,

At the January 14th Indianapolis hearing on REPA 3, strong opposition to lower standards for teacher and administrator licenses was registered. Fifteen spoke against lower standards while one spoke in favor of one provision.

In contrast to her predecessor, State Superintendent Ritz actually attended and listened to the entire hearing. Dr. Bennett had abandoned the practice of attending major rules hearings starting with the A-F hearing in April 2010. Two State Board members, Cari Wicker and David Freitas, also attended the REPA 3 hearing in Indianapolis. Superintendent Ritz also attended the hearings in South Bend and Evansville.

Among those testifying against major portions of the proposal was Risa Regnier, speaking for Glenda Ritz and the Indiana Department of Education.

One must ask: If Superintendent Ritz and the Indiana Department of Education are opposed, who is pushing this stuff?

The answer is that the Governor and some of his State Board members and staff are for it, although other State Board members have said they oppose key sections. On the same day that public school advocates had to fight the winter elements to come to a hearing seeking to simply maintain current teacher licensing standards, the Governor was saying in his State of the State Address that “at the end of the day a good teacher makes all the difference.”

That statement is inconsistent with his efforts to bring us REPA 3. He should quickly have his State Board members withdraw all parts of REPA 3 that lower standards for teachers and administrators.

The Hearing

Scheduled for 9am on Tuesday, January 14th, the hearing was in no way convenient for the many teachers that wanted to speak out against lower licensing standards. Still, 16 speakers showed up to testify. Fifteen of those spoke strongly against rule changes that would-----
  • remove the requirement of a master’s degree to get a principal’s license.
  • remove the requirement of an educational specialist’s degree to get a superintendent’s license.
  • allow individuals who have not qualified for a principal’s license to get a Temporary Building Level administrator license.
  • allow individuals who have a bachelor’s degree and have passed a content test to get a five-year Adjunct Teaching Permit without any student teaching.
  • allow licensed teachers to add music, art or theater arts to their license by passing a content test, without pedagogical courses in those subjects or student teaching.
  • eliminate the 10-year Accomplished Practitioner license in favor of making all licenses renewable for 5 years, removing recognition currently given to our most accomplished teachers.
One social studies teacher who had been a lifelong artist spoke in favor of the REPA 3 plan to allow an art license to current teachers who could pass the art content assessment.

Strong testimony opposing the changes listed above was registered by three college deans, Dean Gonzalez from IU, Dean Shelley from Butler and Dean Moran from the University of Indianapolis; by Jill Shedd, Executive Director of the Indiana Association of Colleges of Teacher Education; by J.T. Coopman of the superintendent’s association; by two current superintendents, Julie Wood and Michael Jones; by ISTA Treasurer Callie Marksbury; and by other teachers and retired teachers.

In my testimony, which is attached, I objected strongly to allowing teachers without pedagogical training or student teaching to begin teaching with a 5-year Adjunct Teacher Permit and to the lowering of standards for principals and superintendents.

The Monumental Change

When voters elected Glenda Ritz in 2012, they probably thought that she and the IDOE staff would become the ones to listen to rules hearing and then to shape the final rules during the promulgation process, as State Superintendents have done for the 37 years I have been watching the making of rules in Indiana. The huge change that was obvious at the REPA 3 hearing is that Superintendent Ritz and the Indiana Department of Education have become supplicants requesting changes by the State Board, just like me and the others testifying. Risa Regnier, Assistant Superintendent who oversees licensing, spoke for the IDOE. She said that IDOE opposes all six points bulleted above, along with supporting some non-controversial changes.

Who, then, has the real power to confirm or withdraw these lower licensing standards?

State Board staff leaders Ann Davis and Michelle McKeown posted and ran the hearing and appear to be in charge of what happens to the rule, acting on behalf of the Governor and the State Board. They will read the comments and make recommendations to the State Board. They invited emails directly to them as well as to the online comment site: www.in.gov/sboe/REPAIIIcomment

Let them know how you feel about lowering standards for licenses! They are collecting comments through January 31st.

Then let the Governor know how you feel as well. He could end these bad ideas quickly by telling his staff to withdraw the proposals for lower standards. It seems inconceivable that he would want to go forward carrying the banner for lower licensing standards for teachers and administrators. It didn’t work well for Dr. Bennett, and it surely won’t work well for Governor Pence, especially when, to quote the Governor again, “a good teacher makes all the difference.”

Now we know for sure: The Governor and his new education staff are accountable for whether or not Indiana lowers its standards for teachers and administrators.

Thank you for your advocacy for highly trained teachers and for public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. The 2014 session of the General Assembly has begun. Joel Hand will again serve as ICPE lobbyist for the session. We need your membership to help support his work. Many have renewed their memberships this fall, and we thank you! If you have not done so since July 1, the start of our new membership year, we urge you to renew by going to our website.

As the session begins, ICPE has about half of what we will need to fund our lobbying efforts, a vast improvement over previous sessions in 2011, 2012 and 2013 when we started from zero each session. With your membership support, we have raised the money each session, and we must do so again. We need additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998.
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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #165 – January 21, 2014

Dear Friends,

The old saying “Never let a crisis go to waste” came to mind as I watched Rep. Behning shepherd the preschool scholarship bill HB 1004 through the House this past week. Indiana has ignored funding vital preschool programs to the point that many consider our situation to be a crisis. Rep. Behning’s response is to fund preschool scholarships which also simultaneously make scholarship students eligible for K-12 vouchers for private school tuition. His bill is the only vehicle to fund preschool, and he is using it to expand K-12 vouchers.

The bill could easily have been written to fund preschool without a link to K-12 vouchers, but his bill supports Rep. Behning’s avowed goal to continually expand K-12 vouchers for students who have never enrolled in a public school. The bill passed the House with lighting speed, passing the committee 10-3 on January 9th, second reading on January 13th, and the final vote 87-9 on January 16th, just one week after the committee hearing.

Section 10

Early sections of HB1004 set up preschool scholarships of $6800 for a full day program or $3400 for a half day program for families making 185% of poverty or less, funding levels that some K-12 districts would envy. The LSA fiscal note said that the bill might fund 4600 vouchers in five pilot counties at a cost of $24 million. The Governor in his speech in Corydon said we should fund 40,000 vouchers. Speaker Bosma said that 1000 vouchers would be funded. Rep. Behning in the committee introduction said that the bill would set up the program this year and funding would be addressed in next year’s budget.

If you are not confused by this description of the size and cost of this program, you should be. The fiscal cost has clearly been blurred by the sponsors.

Then in Section 10, the bill rewrites the infamous voucher bill passed in 2011 to add the following to the list of individuals who meet conditions for a K-12 voucher: “The individual or a sibling of the individual received a scholarship of at least $500 for an early education scholarship under IC12-17.2-7 before enrolling in school.”

I testified against this portion of the bill, asking the committee to strike Section 10. The testimony on behalf of ICPE is attached.

Several other groups in testimony made the same appeal. The Legislative Services Agency, using conservative estimates, wrote that there would be an ongoing cost of $1.6 million to the state for K-12 vouchers for preschool students who would go on to kindergarten at a private school with a voucher paid for by Indiana taxpayers as a result of this bill.

In committee discussion at the January 9th hearing, Rep. Vandenburgh directly asked Rep. Behning to remove Section 10 from the bill because of the opposition she and other Democrats had to expanding K-12 vouchers. She said that removing Section 10 might ease the expected opposition to this bill in the Senate, where it died last year. Rep. Behning replied that he knew Senators who would vote against the bill if it did not include the guarantee of a K-12 voucher as written in the bill, and he would not agree to change Section 10.

Think about that one: He is saying that he knows Senators who would not support preschool funding except for the fact that the bill would expand K-12 vouchers. That leaves the question: Is this bill more about preschool or more about expanding K-12 vouchers?

Second Reading

Section 10 was challenged again during second reading amendments on January 13th. Rep. Delaney filed Amendment 8 which simply deleted Section 10, breaking the link between helping preschool students and expanding K-12 vouchers.

For public education advocates, it was the most telling vote of the new session. The 29 yes votes were all Democrats plus Republican Rep. Niemeyer from Lake and Porter County. The 62 no votes were all Republicans. The bill remained an expansion of K-12 vouchers as well as help for preschoolers.

The Final Vote

Rep. Behning called HB 1004 for its third reading vote on Thursday, January 16th. Rep. Pelath said the bill is “deserving of criticism” for “doubling down on voucher methodology” but his side of the aisle has had preschool in their agenda for many years, and he would vote yes. Rep. Vernon Smith said a “very good concept for academics has been marred by a quest” for more K-12 vouchers. He would support the bill with “a lot of red flags.” Rep. Vandenburgh, Rep. Candelaria Reardon, Rep. Pryor and Rep. Delaney all came to the podium with similar sentiments of support for the bill but opposition to Section 10. Rep. Delaney said that in setting up a pipeline to private school vouchers through preschools, public schools “can’t compete here” because they are stretched to the limits of their funding now.

The final vote was 87-9, with eight of the no votes coming from Republicans who opposed the precedent of preschool funding: Representatives Culver, Harman, Ober, Rhoads, Thompson, Turner, Washburne and Wesco. One Democrat, Rep. Kersey, who strongly opposes private school vouchers, voted against the bill based on its link to K-12 vouchers.

The Second Time Around

The bill now goes on to the Senate for the second time. Last year, it died there based on fiscal concerns about the eventual costs for a statewide program.

The K-12 voucher program has changed remarkably between the time HB 1004 passed the House in 2013 and its passage here in 2014. As a result of the voucher expansion passed in April 2013, vouchers for private school tuition are available in a number of ways to incoming kindergarteners who can now get state tax dollars to attend private schools without ever giving the public schools a try. Beginning kindergarteners are now eligible for vouchers if they---
  • are siblings of previous voucher students.
  • are special education students. Even if parents want special education services from the public school district, they can attend private schools using a taxpayer voucher for family incomes as much as $84,000.
  • reside in an attendance area for a school that received an F under Indiana’s flawed but still used A-F system.
These expansions of vouchers had not been passed when Rep. Behning first proposed in 2013 a pipeline to K-12 vouchers through preschool. It seems like the pipeline is already there now and need not embroil basic help for low income preschoolers in the education conflict of our generation: whether to privatize our public schools.

What Can Public Education Advocates Do?

It is time to contact Senators about the preschool bill HB 1004 that will be coming their way in a few weeks. Ask them to strike Section 10 from the bill to help preschoolers without using the bill to expand K-12 vouchers.

Remind them of the controversial expansion of vouchers last year, a debate when more than one Senator said they would not support additional expansions after the 2013 expansions. Remember that 23 Senators voted against the major voucher expansion of 2013, just three short of a majority. Let all Senators know how you feel about Section 10, but of course initially the Senators on the Education and Career Development Committee will hear the bill in February.

HB 1004 is one of the key bills of the session. It should not be used to once again expand K-12 vouchers.

Thank you for your advocacy for public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. The 2014 session of the General Assembly has begun. Joel Hand will again serve as ICPE lobbyist for the session. We need your membership to help support his work. Many have renewed their memberships this fall, and we thank you! If you have not done so since July 1, the start of our new membership year, we urge you to renew by going to our website.

As the session begins, ICPE has about half of what we will need to fund our lobbying efforts, a vast improvement over previous sessions in 2011, 2012 and 2013 when we started from zero each session. With your membership support, we have raised the money each session, and we must do so again. We need additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998.
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Saturday, January 18, 2014

ISTA wins lawsuit on teacher wages

January 17, 2014

An ISTA lawsuit on behalf of the Nettle Creek Classroom Teachers Association has resulted in the overturning of a decision by the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board (IEERB) on teacher wages.

Marion County Superior Court Judge Thomas Carroll ruled that “school corporations and teacher associations can bargain additional wages for hours worked over the number of hours contained in a regular teacher's contract.”

The lawsuit may result in Associations being able to bargain with school corporations for hours required to be worked outside a teacher’s regular teacher’s contract.

In his decision, the Judge specifically held that a bargaining proposal made by the Nettle Creek TA was bargainable under Indiana law. The proposal stated that teachers would work an additional 15 hours per semester for $0/hour and then be paid $34/hour for any additional required hours.

Judge Carroll also cited a previous ISTA court victory regarding the “regular teacher’s contract” proposed by Tony Bennett in 2011 that would have allowed schools to make teachers work unlimited hours.
Judge Carroll supported his decision with a ruling in that case where the Judge had held that “the regular teacher’s contract drafted by Bennett is unconscionable in that it gives school corporations the authority to unilaterally modify the number of days and hours that a teacher must work, but it does not require the school corporation to pay for the additional labor or any other additional consideration.”

Nettle Creek was the first school to go to Fact Finding under the new laws that went into effect in 2011. ISTA filed a lawsuit in April of 2012 challenging the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board’s decision in Nettle Creek.

This victory is a definite setback for the IEERB which continues to include in its Fact Finding decisions that teachers can be required to work unlimited hours without additional pay so long as the work relates to a teacher’s teaching duties.

ISTA will continue to fight these unjust decisions and protect teachers’ rights against being made to work an unlimited number of hours per day with no additional compensation.

Keep up to date on education ISTA Blog: www.ista-in.org

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

ISTA Action Alert!

Testimony Needed for impending teacher licensure rule changes -- aka REPA III

The following is from ISTA.
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Educator testimony is needed immediately for the upcoming teacher licensure rule changes known as REPA III.

Background
Former Superintendent Tony Bennett forced REPA II through the State Board of Education in his last days in office (January 2013). The new rules were hurried through the approval process before then Superintendent-elect Glenda Ritz could take office.

REPA II was a major step in de-professionalizing teaching by “ed reformers”.

REPA III
REPA III is basically the final version of REPA II that was adopted by the State Board of Education in January 2013. Some technical revisions have been made at the request of the Attorney General and Legislative Services Agency. But, the starting version of REPA III is to a significant degree the end version of REPA II.

So….REPA III is essentially REPA II.

The full REPA III proposal can be read here: http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/20131218-IR-511130399PRA.xml.pdf

Offering your testimony
When preparing your testimony, consider at least these points:
  • REPA II was forced on teachers and serves to de-professionalize teaching—teacher input in some fundamental areas has not been incorporated in REPA III:
  • ARTICLE 16: ADJUNCT TEACHER PERMIT (511 IAC 16-4-6): REPA III enables a person with a BA who passes a content exam to become fully-licensed on a five-year cycle to teach in Hoosier classrooms. In essence, it enables a person to become a teacher without demonstrating an understanding of teaching. Understanding methods, manners of student learning, and strategies for special needs should be minimal qualifications. REPA III provides an avenue into the classroom based solely on a BA and content knowledge testing. Passing a content examination certainly does not guarantee quality of instructional ability nor demonstrate the art and science of teaching. Pedagogical ability is left out of the equation.
  • Special education students could end up having teachers who lack the appropriate training.
  • REPA 2 sets the bar too low to enter the profession.
  • There has been a complete lack of evidence to merit these major changes.
  • ARTICLE 13: ACCREDITATION OF TEACHER PREPARATION PROGRAMS (511 IAC 13-1-1): REPA III refers to an accredited teacher preparation program as being “an organization recognized by the state board of education to prepare educators to meet requirements for licensure.” This doesn’t offer any real or meaningful definition and is far too open-ended. An accredited teacher preparation program is not “an organization” but is a university-based, rigorous course of study—as is the case with any other profession.
  • Article 15: SCHOOL SETTINGS AND LICENSE CONTENT AREAS (511 IAC 15): Please review your individual licensure school setting and content area and make appropriate comments thereon.
Submitting your testimony
Educators have two options for submitting feedback and testimony.

In person
Educators have the opportunity to testify in person at three hearings being held around the state. While it would have been nice if those hearings concerning teachers and teaching could have been convened in the evenings when teachers might be able to attend, it is our understanding that the hearing dates and times were set by the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency. At any rate, members can attend in person and personally present testimony likely limited to five minutes. The hearings will be held at the following locations and times:
January 13, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.
St. Joseph County Public Library, Main Branch, Colfax Auditorium
304 South Main Street
South Bend

January 14, 2014 at 9:00 a.m.
Indiana Government Center South
402 West Washington Street, Conference Center Room A
Indianapolis

January 16, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.
Evansville Public Library, McCullough Branch Meeting Room
5115 Washington Avenue
Evansville
Written
Written testimony should be submitted to the State Board of Education here: http://www.in.gov/sboe/REPAIIIcomment.htm

If submitting written testimony, we ask that you please copy and paste your testimony into an email to each State Board of Education member. This will ensure that they receive your full and complete testimony rather than risk having it be summarized by CECI staff (the Governor’s Education Agency).The State Board members are:

Supt. Glenda Ritz - gritz@doe.in.gov
Tony Walker - tony@walkerlawgroup.biz
Dr. David Freitas - drdavidfreitas@comcast.net
Cari Whicker - cwhicker@hccsc.k12.in.us
Sarah O’Brien - sobrien4cd@yahoo.com
Andrea Neal - aneal@inpolicy.org
Dr. Brad Oliver - brad4education@gmail.com
Daniel Elsener - delsener@marian.edu
B.J. Watts - bj.watts@evsc.k12.in.us
Troy Albert - talbert@wclark.k12.in.us
Gordon Hendry - education@gordonhendry.com

If you are a public school educator or support professional, please email the board members from home and on your own personal time.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #164 – January 8, 2014

Dear Friends,

Governor Pence and his education staff have pushed forward new rules to lower standards for getting teacher and administrator licenses. Advocates for maintaining high standards to qualify for licenses need to make their objections known in hearings to be held next week—Jan. 13th in South Bend, Jan. 14th in Indianapolis, and Jan. 16th in Evansville. The Governor has picked the worst time of winter to hold these hearings, but it is vital that a strong showing of opposition to reviving Dr. Bennett’s plan to lower standards be registered at the hearings.

Details on the Hearings

In papers filed on December 18th by the Governor’s Center for Education and Career Innovation, the three hearings will be as follows:

Jan. 13, 2014 – 10:00am - South Bend - St. Joseph County Public Library, Main Branch, Colfax Auditorium, 304 South Main Street, South Bend, Indiana

Jan. 14, 2014 – 9:00am – Indianapolis – Indiana Government Center South, 402 West Washington St., Conference Center Room A, Indianapolis, IN

Jan. 16, 2014 – 9:30am – Evansville – Evansville Public Library System, McCullough Branch, Meeting Room, 5115 Washington Avenue, Evansville, IN

For those who can’t attend a hearing but want to be heard on this issue, written comments may be submitted at: www.in.gov/sboe/REPAIIIcomment.htm

To get a full copy of REPA 3, go to the IDOE website to the Office of Educator Licensing and Development and look for the box announcing the hearings and the availability of the 82-page REPA 3 document.

The box contents is below:
Here is the link to the notice of the public hearings in the Indiana Register:
http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/20131218-IR-511130399PHA.xml.pdf.

The document containing the proposed rule changes is found here:
http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/20131218-IR-511130399PRA.xml.html

An online public comment site is open now at the following link:
http://www.in.gov/sboe/REPAIIIcomment.htm
Background to REPA 3

In 2010, after several controversial meetings on “Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability” (REPA), Dr. Bennett got his first set of licensing changes passed by the State Board. That didn’t satisfy him, and he brought a second set of licensing changes to lower standards in 2012, which became known as REPA 2.

He allowed only one public hearing on REPA 2 on June 21, 2012. The Riley Room at IDOE was full that day and every speaker was opposed to the rule, 30 in all. Teacher education leaders from all over Indiana dubbed the proposals unnecessary and harmful to the effort to put well-trained teachers in every classroom. One of the speakers opposing REPA 2 that day was Dr. Brad Oliver, teacher educator at Indiana Wesleyan, who is now a member of the State Board.

After the June hearing, Dr. Bennett let State Board action on REPA 2 sit until December, 2012, the first meeting after his reelection defeat. I have always assumed that he didn’t want a controversial debate over lowering standards for teachers to be a prominent issue during the election campaign. As soon as the election was over, he brought the issue back during his lame duck authority. During the December 2012 board meeting, there was so much debate about the final wording among the State Board members that it had to be reworked and brought back to the January 2, 2013 meeting, just days before the end of his term and the inauguration of State Superintendent Ritz. A confusing passage about pedagogical training for the otherwise untrained adjunct teacher licensee was approved.

When the Attorney General’s office reviewed what the State Board had changed in the published rules, they halted implementation of the rules based on procedural problems in the rule-making process. The Attorney General’s ruling meant clarifications had to be drafted and additional public hearings had to be scheduled. State Board member Tony Walker, apparently eager to implement REPA 2, expressed great frustration about the delay during one State Board meeting. Teacher educators, in contrast, were pleased by the Attorney General’s ruling and hoped it would mean the end of REPA 2.

Now, a year later, the Governor’s Center for Education and Career Innovation Attorney Michelle McKeown resubmitted the rules in the Indiana Register on December 18th and scheduled three public hearings for January. This version is now being called REPA 3.

Every Hoosier knows that January is the best month to get the public to come out for public hearings, especially during a winter of record setting bad weather.

What Problems in REPA 3 Should Concern Public School Advocates?

There are many problems in the 82 pages of REPA 3, and I will leave many technical problems to teacher education leaders. I will focus on four proposals that I am convinced will lower standards and hurt public education.

Problem #1 – Lower standards for a teaching license

Graduates with a only a bachelor’s degree can already get temporary licenses for shortage areas, but now REPA 3 proposes to let any graduate with a bachelor’s degree get a five year renewable license if they have passed the content area licensure assessment for their teaching area. The proposed rule (16-4-6) would give an adjunct teacher permit to anyone who “has a bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale in a content area related to that which the applicant intends to teach.”

Does that wording mean an overall 3.0 or does it mean a 3.0 only in the content area courses related to the teaching assignment? That is only one of many questions that need clarification.

This proposal defames the term “adjunct”, a university term which currently means “part-time” or “paid by the course”, but does not mean undertrained or without credentials. Indeed, adjunct professors at the university level often have outstanding credentials.

The bigger problem is the assumption that pedagogical training is a trivial part of becoming a teacher. Why would anyone bother to look into a School of Education teacher training program, especially a rigorous one, if they know they can teach with any bachelor’s degree after passing a content area test? Has the Governor concluded that to know something is to be able to teach it to students? We know better.

The Indiana University School of Education was founded in 1908 and Ball State University began as a teachers college in 1918. We now have 100 years of experience in Indiana in training effective teachers, and the Governor is proposing rules that would throw all of that out and let anyone teach who has a bachelor’s degree. That doesn’t make sense.

Even Dr. Bennett’s State Board couldn’t go along with that radical departure from best practice in the December 2012 meeting referred to above. State Board member Neil Pickett made a motion to add a pedagogical component to the adjunct teacher permit. Some later called it “pedagogical light.” That led to the confusion that delayed the proposal, but now it is back with new wording.

The new wording in 511 IAC 16-4-6 (c) is as follows:
     (c) The adjunct teacher permit is renewable after five (5) years upon completion of all of the following:
(1) The applicant was employed in the P-12 schools for at least three (3) of the five (5) years the permit was valid.
(2) The applicant received a rating of effective or highly effective in three (3) of the five (5) years of the validity of the permit based on an evaluation that meets the components outline in IC 20-28-11.5.
(3) The applicant completed the pedagogy component under subsection (d) during the validity of the first five (5) year permit.
Please note that adjunct permit teachers can teach for five full years even if they are not rated effective or highly effective. While other parts of REPA require 10 weeks of student teaching instead of 9, the “Adjunct Teacher Permit” allows teachers to teach for five years who have had no student teaching. This is a bad idea which negates all that we have learned about preparing teachers in the past century.

Problem #2 – No provision is made for state approval of the providers of the pedagogical component.

The rule suggests that in the delivery of the pedagogical component for untrained teachers, anything goes. After a year of work, the pedagogical component now reads as follows, in 511 IAC 16-4-6:
     (d) An adjunct teacher pedagogy component must be completed and must address all of the following areas:
(1) Literacy for adolescents in content areas and across the curriculum based on scientifically-based reading research.
(2) Differentiation of instruction and instructional methods, including methods for students with exceptional needs.
(3) Classroom and behavioral management, including legal rights and responsibilities of teacher and student.
(4) Curriculum development, lesson planning, assessment strategies, and using data to inform instruction.
(5) Psychology of child development, including the development of exceptional needs students.
(6) Competence in multicultural awareness and technology as an aid to education.

     (e) The adjunct teacher pedagogy component may be delivered through school-based professional development, college or university based course work or professional development, an entity that is not an institution of higher education, or a professional education organization. Completion of the pedagogy component must be verified by the provider.
While the six areas are a worthy list, the providers for the pedagogy component named in (e) above are not supervised or approved by IDOE or by the State Board. For-profit groups could qualify as providers with no supervision by anyone to monitor quality. This paragraph would swing the door open to private for-profit pedagogical training of uncertified quality, a result that stands in stark contrast to university programs that must meet high standards of accreditation. This pedagogical component must be made accountable to someone. The fact that it is not accountable is more reason to deep-six the whole flawed concept of adjunct licenses.

Problem #3 – Lower standards for a principal license

REPA 3 removes the requirement that candidates earn a Master’s Degree to get a principal license. This degrades the licensing of all current principals who found the commitment to earn a Master’s degree, and guarantees that the next generation of school principals will have less training than the current generation.

Also, a new provision allows the appointment of “Temporary Building Level Administrators” at the request of a local school board. Under great pressure from Governor Daniels, a license for a “Temporary Superintendent” was allowed in rules passed in 2010 (REPA 1). That plan did not go so far as allowing for temporary principals on the same basis, but REPA 3 does go that far. This concept reverses the reforms of the early 20th century when cronyism and nepotism influenced the appointment of administrators in many local communities. The reform of that era was to have administrative candidates show that they were qualified in the eyes of impartial licensing agents, the university administrator programs. This provision throws the door open again to local cronyism. This is the kind of local control that no one is asking for. This provision cheapens the credentials of all administrators who have worked hard to pass the existing credential requirements and are now told they weren’t really necessary.

Problem #4 - Lower standards for a superintendent license

Governor Pence has shown no respect to superintendents. He signed a bill in 2013 saying superintendents did not need a teacher license or a superintendent license. He failed to appoint a superintendent to the State Board of Education, the first time since the State Board was established in 1984 that a superintendent has not been a member. Now, REPA 3 says that to get a superintendent license, an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree is no longer required. This degrades the credentials of all current superintendents who earned an Ed.S. and contributes to the notion supported by the Governor’s actions that anyone can be a superintendent without specific training. This will clearly lower the standards for the next generation of superintendents.

What Can You Do About This?

In summary, the REPA 3 rules lower standards for teaching licenses, for principal licenses and for superintendent licenses in ways that have not been supported in previous public hearings. How long can the State Board keep moving in directions opposed by the majority of Indiana education stakeholders?

Here are your options if you would like to speak up on this issue:
1. Attend one of the public hearings next week and sign up to speak. Anyone who signs in before the start time has the right to speak for at least 3 minutes. Sometimes they allow 5 minutes. Say what is on your mind, asking for changes in these or other sections of REPA 3. It is important that the State Board members hear from parents, community leaders and educators representing many geographic areas of Indiana.

2. Emails or call members of the State Board of Education to express your opposition. A majority of the State Board (6 of 11) are new since Dr. Bennett pushed REPA 2 through in January 2013. One new member, Dr. Oliver, opposed REPA 2 in public hearings. It’s not at all clear that all the State Board members are with Governor Pence in pushing the lower standards of REPA 3. Let them know how you feel.

3. Complain loudly to your State Senators and State Representative about what the Governor and the State Board have proposed in REPA 3. They can’t control the State Board on this vote, but when the State Board asks for the budget to pay for additional staff, members of the General Assembly will have been informed by you of the problems in this proposal and the overreach of authority by the State Board.

4. Inform the public through the media where possible. Let the public know that the new direction that voters asked for in the 2012 election is being ignored by the Governor and that standards for teachers and principals in Indiana classrooms are being lowered.
It is an open question whether grassroots citizens, parents and educators have any passion left to speak out on the issue of lowering standards for teachers and administrators.

I hope so.

Thank you for your advocacy for highly trained teachers and for public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith


ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. The 2014 session of the General Assembly has begun. Joel Hand will again serve as ICPE lobbyist for the session. We need your membership to help support his work. Many have renewed their memberships this fall, and we thank you! If you have not done so since July 1, the start of our new membership year, we urge you to renew by going to our website.

As the session begins, ICPE has about half of what we will need to fund our lobbying efforts, a vast improvement over previous sessions in 2011, 2012 and 2013 when we started from zero each session. With your membership support, we have raised the money each session, and we must do so again. We need additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998.

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