Attempts to amend an ISTEP, teacher evaluation bill fail

By Shelby D. Salazar

INDIANAPOLIS ­­– Not everyone is happy about a bill to prevent the 2015 ISTEP results from jeopardizing teacher evaluations and bonuses.

“Well, this is the beginning of what should have been a long conversation about what we are doing to our students and our teachers and our grading system,” Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, said. “I don’t know why the majority chose to break this idea up into little pieces.”

DeLaney proposed three amendments to House Bill 1003 Monday during the House session. The majority voted down two of the amendments. Delaney withdrew his third amendment.

“Any interruption or amendment causes us to have to get back together and make sure that all parties are in favor of it,” Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis said. “We are really trying to focus on teacher evaluations. How to get that money to the teachers and hold them harmless for the implementation of this new test.”

Behning authored the bill after the major drop in ISTEP scores for many schools across the state.

“I am no party to an agreement to fast-track through a fix for a mess that we have created,” DeLaney said. “I also reject the notion that we can’t file amendments to this bill because we are moving so fast, and because a deal has been made outside of this body.”

DeLaney states that the legislature has moved from a “reform-mode to a band-aid-mode.”

“We have a huge problem with ISTEP, but no one is responsible,” DeLaney said. “Our teachers who should have gotten bonuses in the fall still don’t have them. Our teachers don’t know whether to change their teaching methods or curriculums. And we are halfway through the year.”

DeLaney wants a thorough and in-depth look into all of the issues that have surround ISTEP and education over the years.

But Behning wants to send HB 1003 to the governor by the end of this month.

“I think we need to stay the course, keep this bill clean, move it out of here and get it down the governor as quickly as possible,” Behning said.

Shelby D. Salazar is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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