Pence and legislators ignore calls for fix to help teachers and schools
Despite public concern and hundreds of emails to Gov. Pence and local legislators, the General Assembly today failed to ensure teachers and schools aren’t penalized resulting from the delayed release of low ISTEP scores. Due to the inaction, teachers will continue to wait for raises months after they should have received them, and additionally risk being penalized for long-expected low ISTEP scores.
House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) said that the Legislature intends to take some sort of action after January 2016 that will decouple teacher evaluations from test scores for a year.
A few weeks ago, Gov. Pence issued a statement that teachers shouldn’t be penalized by low ISTEP scores in this transition year and ISTA began calling for details and quick action The swiftest course would have been to take action today on Organization Day.
Last session, the General Assembly enacted a school funding formula that enabled some schools to offer salary raises effective for the 2015–2016 school year. However, Indiana law also links the raises to teacher evaluations, which are in-part based on student test scores. As a result, the delay in spring 2015 test results is causing local school systems to withhold the pay increases until possibly next spring.
The failure of the testing company to provide timely scores has also placed this year’s state performance grants in jeopardy.
ISTA will continue to advocate for a two year pause in accountability rules in the upcoming legislative session. Our teachers, students, and schools shouldn’t suffer from the long-expected drop in scores caused by a new test built on new standards.