Governor Mike Pence has asked the Indiana Department of Education to review the state's school performance grading system amid accusations leveled against former Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett. A statement from the governor's office says Pence still supports the A-F grading system. The Indiana State Teachers Association is calling for a moratorium on school grading until a “truly independent investigation” is complete. Bennett stepped down Thursday as Florida's education commissioner. He has denied any wrongdoing. Bennett is also calling for an investigation, saying he is “fearless” about what it would reveal.

August 1, 2013

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. — Today, Governor Pence urged the Indiana Department of Education to complete a thorough and timely review of the questions surrounding the 2011-2012 A-F letter grades and report their findings at the next State Board of Education meeting in August.

“Governor Pence believes in accountability and that students, parents and teachers deserve to know our state has a fair and impartial grading system that accurately describes the performances of our schools,” said Kara Brooks, Press Secretary. “The Governor supports our A-F grading system and believes that the people of Indiana should have confidence in the integrity of that system. Today, at the direction of Governor Pence, Claire Fiddian-Green, Special Assistant for Education Innovation and Reform, urged the Department of Education to conduct a thorough and timely evaluation of the questions surrounding the A-F grading system and to report their findings to the State Board of Education at the upcoming August meeting. After the Department of Education reports its findings to the State Board of Education, the Governor believes we will be able to make an informed decision about how we might best ensure public confidence in our A-F grading system going forward.”

Source: Office of Indiana Governor Mike Pence

August 1, 2013

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. — In the wake of Dr. Tony Bennett's resignation as Florida's education commissioner, ISTA reiterates its call for a truly independent investigation into the administration of Indiana's accountability system, including the A-F school grading system, with the goal of making changes as determined by education experts that include educators and as governed by common sense.

Action must be taken now to restore confidence, fairness and cooperation among all stakeholders. That action should include:

• A moratorium on further school grading until everyone is satisfied that the system and whatever consequences and/or support ensue can be administered fairly.

• Working to provide bona fide help to teachers who teach in challenging school districts rather than looking for ways to mete out blame to some and give a pass to others.

• Authentic cooperation among ALL stakeholders. This entire situation calls into question, not only the foundation upon which Indiana's accountability system rests, but also puts into question the consequences exacted upon public schools and their communities in the past.

“It's now time to move beyond politics and narrow agendas,” said Teresa Meredith, ISTA president, “and work to support Indiana's children and their schools.”

Source: Indiana State Teachers Association

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