Monday, December 23, 2013

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #163 – December 23, 2013

Dear Friends,

After opening with unanimous approval of a revised agreement on meeting procedures that had been negotiated earlier in the week, Superintendent Ritz and the State Board of Education efficiently completed a substantive meeting, adjourning at 1:30 compared to the 4:00pm adjournment of recent meetings.

School letter grades using Dr. Bennett’s old formula were approved by the Board by a vote of 9-1, with the dissent of Board Member Andrea Neal.

The State Board’s Executive Director on the Governor’s Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI) staff announced that the state hearings on REPA 2/REPA 3 rule changes are scheduled for January 13, 14 and 16 in South Bend, Indianapolis and Evansville, respectively. All teachers and teacher educators should know that the effort to lower standards for teachers and administrators now known as REPA 3 are back and that the January hearings offer the public’s best opportunity to convince the State Board that these rule changes should be rejected. Details are below.

School Letter Grades

Using Dr. Bennett’s old system, school letter grades on the whole went up. More A’s and B’s and fewer C’s, D’s and F’s were recorded statewide than in 2012. There were many schools that experienced wild swings in grades which was attributed to the weaknesses in the growth section of the system. Much was said in the meeting about the new A-F system to come, which it was said will be used two years from now for the 2014-2015 student data.

It can’t be soon enough.


I was unaware until the Dec. 20th meeting that REPA 2 is back and the public hearings are scheduled for three weeks from now. That is your unwelcome December surprise.

REPA 2 was Dr. Bennett’s parting shot to try to lower standards for getting teacher and administrator licenses. He asked the State Board to pass the revised rules in December of 2012 after his election defeat. They were passed but with so many amendments that the Attorney General ruled that the rules could not be finalized until they were clarified and given another round of public hearings.

The CECI has now picked up the ball and is calling them REPA 3. They contain at least four really bad ideas:
1) Individuals with any four year degree can get a 5-year “Adjunct” teaching license.

2) Training required to get a principal’s license would be reduced.

3) Training required to get a superintendent’s license would be reduced.

4) Administrative certification can be offered by non-higher education organizations. Whether for-profit private organizations can become training sites for administrators and adjunct teachers is not clear but remains a possibility that should be clarified before the hearings.
The hearings are in South Bend, Indianapolis and Evansville as announced in the Indiana Register:
Notice is hereby given that on January 13, 2014, at 10:00 a.m., at the St. Joseph County
Public Library, Main Branch, Colfax Auditorium, 304 South Main Street, South Bend, Indiana;
on January 14, 2014, at 9:00 a.m., at the Indiana Government Center South, 402 West Washington Street, Conference
Center Room A, Indianapolis, Indiana;
on January 16, 2014, at 9:30 a.m., at the Evansville Public Library System, McCullough Branch, Meeting Room, 5115 Washington Avenue, Evansville, Indiana,
the Indiana StateBoard of Education will hold public hearings on proposed changes to Title 511 of the Indiana Administrative Code
Since Dr. Bennett had the REPA 2 passed in January of 2013, there are six new members of the State Board, so it is time to contact them about correcting this proposal. One new member, Brad Oliver, testified against REPA 2 in its only hearing in June of 2012.

Thank you for your advocacy for highly trained teachers and for public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

ICPE is working to promote public education and oppose the privatization of schools in the Statehouse. We are preparing for the next session of the General Assembly beginning January 6th. Joel Hand will again serve as ICPE lobbyist for the session. We need your membership to help support his work. Many have renewed their memberships this fall, and we thank you! If you have not done so since July 1, the start of our new membership year, we urge you to renew by going to our website.

We need additional memberships to pay for our lobbying efforts which begin in January and to carry on our advocacy for public education. We need additional members and additional donations. We need your help!

Go to for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

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.


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