This news release just arrived from the Indiana Department of Education:
It was brought to the Indiana Department of Education's (IDOE) attention today that there have been some questions about a memo IDOE distributed to school corporations in early May regarding the 2011 budget. For the purpose of clarification, Dr. Tony Bennett issued the following statement:
"The statement at issue in Lance Rhodes' memo to superintendents was intended to encourage them to maintain fiscal caution as they proceed to craft their next budgets. The statement does not indicate that any additional cuts have been or will be made.
"In these times, no one knows the future of our state's economic stability, and the Office of Management and Budget will make decisions on any budget cuts based on revenue numbers. Funding education is a top priority, and this year's education cuts were a last resort. This memo to superintendents was meant only to encourage school leaders to continue exercising caution and restraint.
"It should be noted, however, that even with leaner school budgets, student achievement is rising—as evidenced by recent ISTEP results."
Really? Does the state superintendent really believe that Indiana residents are gullible enough to believe the results of standardized tests administered this spring improved in spite of budget cuts that primarily go into effect this fall?
I don't think so. I think parents are smart enough to see that the same teacher who helped their child pass ISTEP+ this spring is facing the unemployment line this fall.
I also think that if ISTEP+ scores had fallen and schools tried to use budget cuts as an excuse, Bennett would have quickly pointed out that budget cuts hadn't really gone into effect when the tests were given.