ISTA Reacts to Governor's Education Agenda

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The Indiana State Teachers Association says Governor Mike Pence's education agenda is "simplistic" and short on funding details. The Governor detailed the "Education Roadmap" yesterday, which includes financial incentives for teachers to move to under-performing schools and more budget flexibility for charter schools.

December 10, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - ISTA is disappointed in the plans outlined by Gov. Mike Pence in the 2014 Education Roadmap he outlined in Corydon earlier today.

-We're in complete support of innovation in public education, but there is no innovation in Pence's simplistic Education Roadmap. It's just the same old, warmed-up proposals from the Daniels'-Bennett corporate education reform plans.

-Pence claims he wants to ensure that all children in Indiana are learning, but his roadmap (with its obvious favoritism toward corporate charter schools) provides no plans for mandatory full-day kindergarten or universal pre-K programs.

-After proposing a $1 billion business tax cut that will devastate Indiana's already-cash strapped public schools, he offers no plans to pay for any of his education plans.

-Pence's plan completely ignores the complexities of placing and keeping good teachers in high-poverty schools. Research is clear that providing financial incentives to teachers just isn't enough. Teachers are attracted to and stay in schools where they receive support from school leaders and colleagues and receive adequate resources to do their jobs.

"Instead of going to Washington and meeting with ALEC and its corporate sponsors to develop his education plan, why doesn't the governor simply sit down with Hoosier educators and parents to hear their ideas?" asks Teresa Meredith, ISTA president. "Schools where educators collaborate and focus on improving teaching and learning, and have the adequate resources to do so, provide the real roadmap for improving education for all Hoosier children."

Source: Indiana State Teachers Association

December 10, 2013

Governor Mike Pence's "Education Roadmap"

Establish a voucher pre-K program for low-income families

A voluntary pre-kindergarten voucher program will be created for families up to 185% of the federal poverty level and will be available for use at the public or private institution of their choice, provided it meets specified accountability standards.

Indiana is one of only nine states that does not use state funds to provide education before kindergarten.

Studies show the most dramatic academic gains from pre-K have been achieved by disadvantaged children. For example, a Texas pre-K program showed improvements in 3rd grade test scores with the greatest increases by children who were both economically disadvantaged and of limited English proficiency.

Create an Indiana Teacher Innovation Fund to support teachers who improve student outcomes through innovative work in the classroom

This competitive grant program will award grants to teachers who design innovative programs in their classrooms that have the potential for replication in other classrooms and school districts. A secondary fund also will reimburse teachers up to $100 for instructional materials and classroom supplies.

Environments that support innovative practices have seen increases in achievement.

Proposal leverages the institutional knowledge of dedicated teachers.

Support teachers who move to under-performing public schools and charter schools serving low-income students

A "Choices for Teachers" program will be created to provide a stipend to traditional public school teachers who apply to and get hired by under-performing public schools and charter schools with at least 50 percent of their students on free and reduced lunch.

Teachers in charter schools on average earn approximately $12,000 less than their public school counterparts.

Research shows that effective teachers can have an immediate impact on test scores, and improve long-term outcomes for low-income students. For example, 9th grade math scores in Chicago public schools saw significant increases with one semester of an improved teacher.

Improve charter school performance by allowing charter school networks to manage their funds with the same flexibility as school districts

Charter school operators with multiple charter schools across the state currently receive a set amount of state funding per school. This bill would allow them to manage all of their schools with a single budget and therefore offer the freedom to move funding from one school to another, as needed.

There are currently 71 charter schools in Indiana.

Indiana currently has three charter operators authorized to run more than one charter school in Indiana. This new law will encourage even more to come to Indiana, and will encourage our current operators to expand.

Increase the supply of alternative, high-performing schools by repurposing unused educational facilities

A council will design and recommend a statewide entity charged with repurposing vacant or underutilized facilities for use by new or different school corporations and charter schools.

The inventory of unused or underutilized facilities across the state results in wasteful spending. For instance, Indianapolis Public Schools alone spends approximately over $25 million to maintain vacant properties.

There are more than 6,500 students are on charter school waitlists across the state.

The new council will make recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly on the best financing and legal framework for the statewide facilities entity by July 1, 2014.

Strengthen career pathways by conducting a statewide assessment of career and technical education

The Career Council will study the impact of Indiana's Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and will work with Indiana Works Councils to provide recommendations for improving their integration.

Indiana spends nearly $115 million on secondary CTE, yet few students enroll in courses that lead to high-wage, high-demand jobs.

None of the top seven CTE courses (measured by enrollment) lead to high-wage, high-demand jobs.

Increase the number of dropout recovery schools for adults who never completed high school

This bill would lift the current cap on the number of dropout recovery schools able to operate in Indiana.

Nearly 9 percent of Indiana’s adult population is without a high school degree. Lifting the cap on dropout recovery schools makes it more likely that we will be able to assist more of this at-risk population.

Persistence rates for students in these programs are nearly 19 percent higher compared to similar adult basic education students.

Graduates of dropout recovery schools experience a 60 percent higher rate of earnings growth than individuals who have only completed the standard high school equivalency.

Create a performance-based program to equip under-skilled adults for jobs in today’s economy

The training will help adults with a high school degree or equivalency attain the certifications necessary to find a high-wage, high-demand job in their region. The program will use performance-based contracts and give priority to service providers that assist with job placement activities.

The Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce estimates in 2018, 55 percent of all Indiana jobs will require some postsecondary training beyond high school.

The Indiana Skills2Compete Coalition has found that 54 percent of jobs in Indiana are middle-skilled positions, but only 47 percent of Hoosiers have the necessary skills and credentials.