The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 1:00 am


Reversal on test scores

Lawmakers right to stop punishing teachers

Legislation to undo two flawed Indiana education policies is moving at breakneck speed through the General Assembly.

But the educators whose protests pushed legislative leaders to act shouldn't forget those same leaders are responsible for adopting the flawed policies.

House Bills 1001 and 1002 each passed the House on Monday with unanimous votes. The Senate unanimously approved its own version of the hold-harmless bill Monday, so the emergency legislation is likely to reach Gov. Eric Holcomb's desk soon.

Senate Bill 2 and HB 1001 each serve to suspend the punitive measures resulting from decreases in test scores; HB 1002 eliminates student test data as a measure on teacher evaluations.

The State Board of Education, controlled by the governor, set high pass/fail cutoff scores for the first ILEARN test, ensuring yet another standardized testing debacle. In creating the new assessment, Republican leaders dismissed efforts by educators and Democratic lawmakers to remove test scores from teacher evaluations until the new test was implemented and verified to be accurate.

“Oh, I think we really hit the ball out of the park on ISTEP,” boasted House Speaker Brian Bosma when ILEARN was approved three years ago. “I think it is going to be a game changer for testing.”

But it's the same old game of using a flawed test to label public schools and teachers as failing while supporting an ever-growing school voucher system. Not surprisingly, choice supporters testified against HB 1002 last week, arguing that teachers should be held accountable for their students' test scores. While they lost this round, loyalty earned from generous campaign contributions ensure their continued success.

The 15,000-plus Red for Ed protesters who marched at the Statehouse in November can celebrate a win this week, but they shouldn't forget in May and November who started the fight.

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