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Statehouse leaders detail ‘Hold Harmless’ plan

Photo Supplied / Indiana Statehouse

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside Indiana Business): Leaders at the Indiana Statehouse have announced a plan for a “hold harmless” policy for schools regarding this year’s ILEARN test results. The plan comes nearly two months after Governor Eric Holcomb asked for such a waiver.

In a letter to Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick and the State Board of Education, House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) and Senate President Pro Tempore Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) said the plan aims to implement the policy “in the most timely, least disruptive way possible for our schools.”

In September, the results from the first ILEARN exam were released and showed a sharp decrease in the number of students who passed, compared to the previous year’s ISTEP+ exam. The governor sought a “hold harmless” policy to prevent the scores from affecting school accountability grades and teacher evaluations.

RELATED: 2019 ILEARN results released

The leaders are calling on the Indiana Department of Education to inform schools that they may use the 2018 school accountability grades and/or the 2018 assessment results in this year’s teacher evaluations. According to the plan, this would be for teachers who would not be eligible for Teacher Appreciation Grants solely because of the 2019 school accountability grades or assessment results.

Bosma and Bray say the effort should be reinforced by a resolution from the SBOE and will ensure teachers will not lose their eligibility for the grants and will receive them before the December deadline.

The Indiana General Assembly also seeks to pass legislation to codify the plan when the 2020 session begins in January. Bosma and Bray say the legislature will also expedite a bill directing the SBOE to implement a similar “hold harmless” policy for the 2019 school accountability grades.

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