Indiana to end state takeovers of school districts, require more data published online

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INDIANAPOLIS – Beginning next month, a new Indiana law will end state takeovers of underperforming school districts. But all districts will eventually be required to publish more performance data online.

“It was flat out not successful,” State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero), a former school superintendent, said of the state takeover system.

The Indiana Department of Education will work to decide exactly what types of information will need to be posted, according to a DOE spokesperson.

The goal is to go beyond standardized test scores, using more criteria to give each district a letter grade, Cook said.

“They might have one of the best internship programs in electricity in the whole state, and they’ll be able to showcase that,” State Rep. Cook gave as an example.

The additional information published online is meant to hold school districts accountable, Cook explained. It will give families will get a more accurate picture of how school districts are doing and help them choose accordingly, he added.

“Indiana is now a choice state, meaning families have many options,” explained David Marcotte, executive director of the Indiana Urban Schools Association, which is made up of 35 Indiana school districts.

Marcotte said his group supports the new law, and he believes it will encourage districts to become more competitive.

“Schools need to improve in many areas of their operations – not just test scores – and if they don’t, then the parents will choose to send their children elsewhere,” Marcotte said.

Although state takeovers will end, the Indiana Department of Education will continue to assist underperforming school districts, State Rep. Cook said.

The law requires the new performance data to be published beginning in July 2024. Districts will not be penalized for low test scores this past school year due to the pandemic, Cook said.

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