Senate Education and Career Development Committee
January 30, 1:30 p.m.
View the agenda here.
Watch the meeting live (and click on bills to view their details) here.
SB 29 • Sen. Mike Bohacek Districts must provide materials to juvenile detention facilities for detained students (testimony only)
SB 216 • Sen. Philip Boots, Sen. Jeff Raatz Changes eligibility for educational costs exemptions for children and spouses of veterans; this appears to reduce those exemptions (amend and vote only)
SB 266 • Sen. Michael Crider, Sen. Randall Head Establishes mental health services and related personnel as legitimate uses of secured school grant money (testimony only)
SB 362 • Sen. Jeff Raatz, Sen. Dennis Kruse Increases classroom supply tax credit for teachers from $100 to $500 (amend and vote only)
SB 434 • Sen. Andy Zay, Sen. Jeff Raatz, Sen. Erin Houchin Requires state board to develop alternative benchmarks for some alternative schools (amend and vote only)
SB 508 • Sen. Jeff Raatz Reduces and weakens suicide, bullying, and child abuse and neglect training requirements for teachers (amend and vote only)
SB 532 • Sen. Jean Leising, Sen. Jeff Raatz Requires a new teacher licensing exam (amend and vote only)
SB 606 • Sen. Jeff Raatz Removes provision that certain considerations may account for not more than 33% of teachers’ salaries; districts must tie teachers’ salary increases to these factors (testimony only)
SB 607 • Sen. Jeff Raatz, Sen. Andy Zay $2.5 million annually to go to workforce diploma reimbursement program, which it establishes (testimony only)
On January 23, the committee voted to pass three bills: SB 420 (workforce training tax credit program), SB 438 (workplace specialist license), and SB 338 (widening pre-K eligibility).
You can find and contact legislators here.
You can make your voice heard by writing a letter to your editor or reaching out to the press here.
Guest Column by Dale Glenn
During the last two election cycles Indiana voters have given one party overwhelming power to make decisions, not on the Senate and House floor, but in backroom caucus rooms free from public view. They ran their campaigns on all sorts of emotional, hot-button issues, many designed to strike fear and loathing in the hearts of citizens, but one important issue was rarely mentioned: public education. It is safe to say neither our governor nor our legislators were elected because of their views on education.
Now, in those back rooms they are attempting to strip voters of one of the most grassroots institutions still available to them. They have passed a law that further distances voters from their ability to direct the course of one of their community’s most fundamental institutions: public education. They now deny voters the right to elect the State Superintendent of Public Instruction; instead, the governor will be appointing one.
This is wrong on a number of levels, as we can see from the past two elections for state superintendent. In one, a Democrat won and proceeded to effect the will of the voters by standing up to lawmakers and a governor who were attempting to cut funding, route money to private school corporations and religious schools, ignore relevant educational research, demonize educators (causing a teacher shortage), and misuse testing under the guise of promoting accountability—all to promote an agenda that centralizes power in the hands of politicians and diminishes the role of professional educators.
In the most recent election, voters elected a Republican as state superintendent. Before two years were up she announced her resignation after criticizing her own party members for their inability to listen to the professionals and placing politics over what is good for children.
This lack of respect for the profession is now further challenged by more back room maneuvering. HB1005 and SB275 leaves a loophole for the governor to appoint a superintendent who has no professional experience in K-12 education. This ambiguity centers around the word “preferable” which is used in the law to placate those opposed to non- professionals holding the office. To say, as in HB1005, that it is “preferable” that a K-12 experienced professional be appointed has no meaning under the law and can thus be ignored. This leaves the door open for the governor to choose someone regardless of professional education credentials and/or K-12 experience.
So here we stand. It is important to read the small print. It is important to hold our legislators and governor accountable and expect them to be transparent. It is important to know where your representatives stand on public education. As the late Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tip O’Neill, once said, “All politics is local.” There is no better representation of that ideal than in education. People care about their local schools, and since the state superintendent has influence over what happens at the local level, it is important the people have a voice in the selection. To deny the public this voice is to suppress the independent mandate that voters in Indiana have had since 1851.
Education is important enough to stand alone, apart from partisan politics, and it must be placed in the hands of people who have devoted their lives to prepare, train and experience their chosen field: professional educators.
We can all help by contacting our state legislators and asking them to listen. HB1005 is a flawed erosion of our democracy. Let them know we are watching.
Mandates to teach K-12 students about democracy would end 18 months from now unless a summer study committee decides to keep them, according to a bill discussed yesterday in the House Education Committee.
Will you speak up to keep mandates in place saying K-12 students will be taught about citizenship and democracy?
Yesterday in House Bill 1400, the mandate to teach our K-12 students about citizenship in our democracy was proposed to expire on July 1, 2020, unless the General Assembly takes action to save it in a summer study committee. Many other mandates are given the same treatment. Your voice is needed this week to get this set of civic mandates removed from the long list of programs to be ended if House Bill 1400 is passed.
At a time when our democracy is under attack from several directions, legislators need to hear that we don’t need to review whether our students should study the Constitution of the United States or take a course in American History. This is a set of civic mandates (IC 20-30-5) that we should all support.
House Bill 1400 is a massive bill. It proposes a review of nearly all mandates in our K-12 schools. It has great support because many mandates are unpopular. In testimony yesterday, our long-standing civic mandates in Indiana Code 20-30-5 were barely mentioned. They are one of forty-one sections of Indiana law that this bill would sunset effective July 1, 2020 unless a summer study committee in 2019 recommends otherwise.
Forty-one sections of law for one interim study committee to review!
Tell legislators that you are sure they can remove IC 20-30-5 from this review, the section that mandates that our students learn about citizenship, displaying the flag, and the pledge of allegiance.
Take Action This Week
The good news here is that the sponsors of the bill, Representative Cook and Representative Behning, did not take a vote on the bill and announced they would amend the bill before taking a vote on it next week. They acknowledged that there are many changes to be made.
Contact them to say they should delete the citizenship mandates in IC 20-30-5 (page 11, line 3) from this bill.
An Aggressive Approach to Ending Mandates
House Bill 1400 puts nearly every mandate in Indiana schools on the chopping block.
It has a lot of support because many mandates have intruded on the time of our teachers. The Indiana Department of Education last summer produced a list of 18 laws that mandate that teachers be trained in areas such as CPR and bullying every year. This bill is an effort to reduce the demands lawmakers have placed on teachers.
Yet the attorney for IDOE giving testimony yesterday on HB 1400 had “grave concerns” about several provisions, saying that Section 7 threatens receiving $271 million in federal funds and that Section 14 is “counter to our Constitution.”
The Senate Education Committee yesterday took a more moderate approach to the “18 trainings” memo. They had a hearing on SB 508, which changes “annual” training in five areas (e.g. bullying and human trafficking) to training every five years. SB 508 received strong support in testimony and will be voted on next Wednesday by the committee.
What are the Mandates to Teach Students about Citizenship and Democracy in IC 20-30-5?
Since the 1950’s, mandates have guided our public schools in teaching students about being good citizens in our democracy. These mandates include:
Ending these mandates on July 1, 2020 unless an interim study committee saves them would put our democracy at risk.
It would be comparable to a plan to sunset the Bill of Rights unless the US Congress votes to reinstate them. That would be a huge risk to the structure of our democracy.
Ask Legislators to Delete 20-30-5 From the List of Mandates Scheduled for Expiration on July 1, 2020
Contact the members of the House Education Committee who will vote on an amended bill next week:
Then share your concern with your own Representative and your own Senator.
You may want to look up the forty other laws listed to expire on pages 9-11 of HB 1400, listed under “School Deregulation”. You may object to other parts of this plan. Current language of the bill includes ending on July 1, 2020 mandates for high ability education (IC 20-36), bullying prevention training (IC 20-26-5-34.2), CPR training (IC 20-28-5-3) and many others that may be near and dear to you.
Good luck in your efforts! Thank you for your active support of public education in Indiana!
“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!
ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.
Our lobbyist Joel Hand will continue to represent ICPE in the 2019 budget session. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!
Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:
I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana. In April of 2018, I was honored to receive the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.
Senate Education and Career Development Committee
January 23, 1:30 p.m.
View the agenda here.
Watch the meeting live here.
SB 216 • Sen. Philip Boots Higher ed cost exemptions for veterans.
SB 338 • Sen. Eddie Melton Widens prekindergarten eligibility.
SB 362 • Sen. Jeff Raatz Would expand tax credits for teachers’ spending on supplies to $500 from $100.
SB 420 • Sen. Jeff Raatz Another tax credit program for donations to new entities, ICOs (similar to SGOs), for workforce training. Alarmingly, this bill would provide $14,000,000 in tax credits that would be going to nonaccountable, privately run entities. The ICOs can keep 10% for administrative costs; must distribute 75% of donations.
SB 434 • Sen. Dennis Kruse No accountability grades for alternative schools that serve more than 65% who are there by court order.
SB 438 • Sen. Andy Zay Teacher licensing; workplace specialist license.
SB 508 • Sen. Jeff Raatz Reduces and weakens suicide training requirements for teachers. Is misleadingly labeled “School employee training requirements.”
SB 532 • Sen. Jean Leising New teacher licensing exams.