The 2012 session of the Indiana General Assembly is under way, and that means debates on education policy are coming soon – though they won’t be anything like the fights over vouchers, charter schools, collective bargaining and teacher evaluations that lit up the 2011 session.
Terry Spradlin, education policy director with the Center on Evaluation and Education Policy at Indiana University, listed several topics that lawmakers may tackle in the 10-week short session:
Appointed state superintendent – This is an issue that’s been kicked around for at least two decades: Should the state superintendent of public instruction be appointed by the governor? Or should voters continue to select Indiana’s chief state school officer?
Appointment advocates say the governor and superintendent should be on the same team. Opponents say it’s better to have an elected superintendent who can act as an independent advocate for education. (A CEEP policy brief from 2008 explores the pros and cons and compares Indiana’s governance system with those of other states).
Multiple count days – Indiana currently sets funding for schools on the basis of student enrollment on a single “count day” in early fall. If students leave a school district after that day, the district doesn’t lose any money. If students enroll after count day, the district doesn’t get any money to pay for them.