Two bills preventing damage from 2015 ISTEP signed into law

Education Committee during ceremonial signing for HB 1003 and SB 200.  By Nicole Hernandez, TheStatehouseFile.com

Education Committee during ceremonial signing for HB 1003 and SB 200.
By Nicole Hernandez, TheStatehouseFile.com

By Shayla Jones
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – Two bills signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence Thursday will prevent 2015 ISTEP performance scores from negatively impacting schools and educators.

“We came together to put our kids, and our teachers and our schools first, just as Hoosiers would expect us to do,” Pence said. “Today demonstrates that leaders in both parties, the Department of Education, our administration and leaders in and around education across Indiana come together in a truly bipartisan basis when the need arises to put our kids and cherished teachers first.”

House Bill 1003 prohibits the use of the 2015 ISTEP scores from unfavorably affecting a teacher’s evaluation, pay or bonuses. Senate Bill 200 prevents the 2015 ISTEP scores from hurting a school’s A-F accountability grade.

“We have all worked together for one purpose and that is to have a better outcome for our schools and for our teachers, as result of some of the difficult scoring going on with the ISTEP tests and I think the outcome is better for everyone,” said Senate President Pro Tem David Long.

Legislators said 2015 was a transition year with higher standards and a new test, leading to significantly lower test scores.

At Thursday’s ceremonial signing, Pence said House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, told him this is the first time he has ever seen both chambers move companion legislation in just two and a half weeks to the governor’s signature. Pence said he was appreciative for the rapid bipartisan efforts by lawmakers.

However, some legislators disagree with the new laws. Rep. Terry Goodin, D-Austin, said the legislation doesn’t solve the real problem.

“While many people have said the bills will help hold schools and teachers and administrators harmless from the mess caused by ISTEP, the real people being held harmless are the Legislature and the governor,” said Goodin. “They are trying to hold themselves harmless for their complicity in helping create a system that has caused unending turmoil and heartache for thousands of schoolchildren across this state.”

Shayla Jones is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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