Indiana updates: Bennett’s 90-25-90

At a stop on his “Season Opener” tour of Indiana communities last week, Superintendent for Public Instruction Tony Bennett told assembled educators at Jasper High School that he wants to see a 90-25-90 compliance rate statewide in three crucial areas by 2012: 90 percent of students passing ISTEP+; 25 percent of high school graduates earning college credit or high academic honors; and a 90 percent high school graduation rate. His comments were reported in the Evansville Courier & Press.

Bennett said the state will continue to pursue a “growth model” to measure academic achievement, tracking individual student progress over time. The model tosses out such terms as “academic probation” and replaces them with letter grades for schools, at least with regard to student performance on ISTEP+ in grades 3 through 8. But the same grading scale doesn’t apply to high schools. Jeff Zaring, administrator of the State Board of Education, told the Courier & Press that high school students will be graded on “college and career readiness.” How? “We’re working on it,” Zaring said.

More from Bennett
In another “Season Opener” stop, this one at Plymouth High School, Bennett relied on a well-worn metaphor to warn educators about the potentially dire consequences of falling behind on reform. “The education reform train is moving very fast down the railroad tracks nationally,” he said, according to the South Bend Tribune. “We’re either going to be driving it, riding the caboose or looking at it from the bottom as it rides over us.”

In response to a question about how schools will pay for professional development required by the state, Bennett said it will incorporate technology and won’t be as expensive as people think, according to the Tribune article.

As for details? Apparently, he’s working on it.

No more budget cuts?
Gov. Mitch Daniels has come in for some criticism about his apparent flip-flopping over additional federal stimulus dollars. He was one of 40 governors who signed a letter in February requesting more money, particularly for Medicaid. But he’s since denounced the extra money, telling Fox News Sunday, “It amounts at this point in time to asking the citizens of responsible states like ours to subsidize those places who have been more reckless. It’s probably not going to help the economy.”

But he’s still going to take the $207 million for education and the $227 million for Medicaid that’s coming the state’s way — even though he believes schools could remain solvent without it.

“That’s our goal, and our current assessment is that we can achieve it, with or without another federal check,” the governor said. “We’ll do all we can to avoid any further reduction.”

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