The State Board of Education met September 16 with an extremely full agenda. Highlights include the announcement that despite ISTEP grading delays, school A-F scores will be released publicly in January. Despite pushback from the DOE, the State Board and legislators expressed concerns that the results need to come out as soon as possible. Indiana House Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) sent a letter stating that if grades were not released before January 31 – the deadline for when districts must give performance bonuses for teachers – that the bonus money could be reverted back to DOE and not to the teachers. This prompted the State Board to pass a resolution to have the grades released in January by a vote of 9-0, with Superintendent Ritz abstaining.
The State Board also discussed the new high school diploma proposals. Many parents and educators spoke publicly at the meeting to express their concerns that the current proposal for three diplomas would make graduating students with special needs much more difficult. The reasoning was that increasing math and science for the Workforce Ready diploma option would make it that much harder for these students to graduate. Parents and educators requested that the General Diploma option be kept in the proposal. As a reminder, the Commission for Higher Education has already approved the proposal and must also be voted on by the Indiana General Assembly in 2016.