Teachers weigh in on fight over ISTEP test

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 12, 2015) -- As the fight over a nearly 12-hour long ISTEP test rages on, CBS 4 wanted to know what it's doing to teachers.

Ronak Shah, who teaches 7th grade at Tindley Preparatory Academy, was doing some grading after school Thursday. That's only a small part of his day, though, as he works to handle much more than he expected to this year.

"You can't prepare a student for a test overnight. You just can't," Shah said.

As the ISTEP and future of Indiana education remains a fight for the ages at the Statehouse and Governor Mike Pence and the Department of Education trade spars, there is no end in sight right now.

What does that mean for the people like Shah who are in the classroom every day?

"It just kind of difficult to figure out what exactly it is on a day-to-day basis we should be doing in the classroom," Shah said.

The State Board of Education will meet at 9 a.m. Friday to discuss the test, including a proposal by the Department to strip social studies out. That could mean the test would change dramatically in the next few weeks.

"There (have) been weeks where we've had to completely revamp things based on what's going on at the Statehouse," Shah said.

He's not the only teacher feeling the sting of education issues, either.

Biology teacher Heath Johnson won't have to worry about ISTEP with his older kids, but he is dealing with other changes made over the past couple of years, including the adoption and later removal of Common Core standards.

"We feel like ... Stretch Armstrong. We’re getting pulled in every direction and we just don’t know what’s going to happen from one year to the next," Johnson said.

It's why Johnson started a Facebook page and petition to push for his own changes. The petition, calling for the state to elect the Board of Education members, had nearly 10,000 signatures as of Thursday.

"It's embarrassing to see our legislators fighting over these issues," Johnson said.

That's something you'll likely hear from more teachers, who said the bottom line is that they just want to settle in and work with their kids, instead of working with uncertainty.

"We really need to be setting a better example for how we behave," Shah said.

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