Indiana News

Lawmakers consider abandoning “failing school” label

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INDIANAPOLIS (Network Indiana): Indiana may pull the plug on a nine-year-old education reform measure.

Then-Governor Mitch Daniels championed the 2012 law assigning A-to-F grades to Indiana schools. Schools with six straight F’s could be handed over to a private operator. The state took that step with Manual and Howe High Schools and Emma Donnan Middle School in Indianapolis, and Gary Roosevelt High School.

The State Board of Education returned control of those four schools to the school districts last year, and Cicero Representative Tony J. Cook (R) says the idea just hasn’t worked. He says positive reinforcement for the things a school is doing well is more effective than threats of punishment.

The House unanimously passed Cook’s bill to keep the grades but eliminate the “failing school” label. The state would still work with local leaders in struggling districts, but the takeover option would be abolished.

The bill also gives the state two years to come up with new grading criteria which go beyond test scores. It would create an online dashboard where parents could compare schools’ performance on attendance, anti-bullying measures, advanced placement courses, dual-credit programs, and other measures.

The bill is awaiting a hearing in the Senate.

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