New Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick says the state will "take advantage of every bit of flexibility we can" through federal law as it looks to replace the much-criticized ISTEP exam by the spring of 2019. A bill eliminating the exam and replacing it with an assessment called ILEARN has passed the Indiana House. Also today, the Indiana Senate is scheduled to take a final vote on a bill to provide additional funding for the state’s pilot pre-k education program.
During an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, McCormick said boosting STEM and career technical education in Indiana schools is also high on her priority list.
Governor Eric Holcomb has called for the state to double its current $10 million investment this session, but an amendment to SB 276 by Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Luke Kenley reduced the amount set aside to $4 million. The Indiana House has also passed a bill that would add up to five more counties to Indiana’s program. The On My Way Pre-K program, which launched in 2014, currently covers Allen, Lake, Marion, Jackson and Vanderburgh counties. That bill is now in front of the Indiana Senate.
Increased pre-k education funding continues to be a major priority for Indiana’s business community. Earlier this year, All IN 4 Pre-K, which includes companies such as PNC Bank, Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) and Cummins (NYSE: CMI) joined hundreds of Hoosiers for a rally at the Statehouse to make the case for more state funding. At the time, PNC Regional President Connie Bond Stuart said the coalition wanted to see state spending on the effort grow to at least $50 million. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has echoed that push, with President Kevin Brinegar saying he wants to see legislators go "as far as they can afford to, as fast as they can" with a bill to at least double Indiana’s current level of investment.
McCormick is a little more than a month into the job after defeating Glenda Ritz in November’s election.