Teachers are vital to the success of our students, and local schools are often the cornerstone of our communities. House Republicans continue to value the hard work and dedication of Hoosier educators. This session, several bills are a result of listening to our teachers and schools about how we can better support them:
Hold teachers and schools harmless from ILEARN results
As Indiana transitions to the new ILEARN exam, which is the state’s standardized testing program required by federal law, legislation would ensure the state’s school accountability grades and teachers’ evaluations are not negatively impacted by test scores for two years. The annual ILEARN exam is taken on a computer by students in grades 3 through 8 in order to gauge student achievement in various subjects. When schools made the switch to this new test last year, lower test scores were expected. To give students, educators and schools time to adapt to the new exam, proposed legislation would hold teachers and schools harmless for test results in 2019 and 2020.
Decouple teacher performance evaluations from student test scores
Because student learning can be measured in a number of different ways, proposed legislation would remove the requirement that standardized test scores significantly inform teacher evaluations and pay. Local school districts best understand the strengths of their teaching staff and how to accurately assess their effectiveness in the classroom. With this legislation, local school districts would have a choice in how to use test results when evaluating teacher performance.
Provide flexibility in teacher training and licensure requirements
The needs of young Hoosiers are constantly growing and changing, making it important for schools to have flexibility in determining which state education requirements best serve their students. Proposed legislation would empower local schools to determine which education laws and requirements are unnecessarily burdensome and apply for a waiver with the State Board of Education to bypass certain regulations. The bill would also task the State Board of Education with evaluating and streamlining Indiana’s current teacher training requirements. In addition, this legislation would revise a 2019 law regarding 1 of 4 teacher licensure renewal options. Under one of the options, teachers can develop a Professional Growth Plan and earn 90 points or hours over five years. With this bill, it would no longer be required that 15 of those points be obtained through professional development related to their community’s workforce needs.
All three of these bills are moving through the legislative process. Visit iga.in.gov to learn more and follow their progress.