Education bills before state lawmakers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2006
Editors: Staff at Indiana University's Center for Evaluation and Education Policy have expertise involving many of the educational issues being considered by state lawmakers. CEEP Director Jonathan Plucker and Assistant Director Terry Spradlin can be reached at 812-855-4438. Plucker also can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Spradlin can also be reached at email@example.com.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The amount of attention given to full day kindergarten was not expected by most observers, so this would have to be the surprise of the session thus far, said Jonathan Plucker, director of Indiana University's Center for Evaluation and Education Policy. CEEP staff are following efforts to deregulate various aspects of K-12 education closely, but Plucker described progress in this area as mixed.
"It has been an interesting session regarding education, with lots of trial balloons but little progress on major issues, which is to be expected in a short session," Plucker said. "Voucher bills generally stalled in committee, and a bill mandating the teaching of intelligent design -- although looming in the background -- was not introduced. Anticipated bills on ISTEP spring testing and the appointment of the state superintendent are moving through the legislative process, but the chances that either will become law are uncertain."
CEEP staff have expertise on a broad range of educational issues, several of which are related to education bills under consideration. Here is a list of some recent policy briefs, reports and news releases:
- ISTEP testing: CEEP's 2005 Public Opinion Poll on Education in Indiana found that 70 percent of respondents favor spring testing. CEEP also issued a 2005 update analysis on testing in the fall versus the spring (see http://www.ceep.indiana.edu/projects/PDF/ISTEP_Policy_Brief_Update.pdf).
- Education deregulation: CEEP issued a report last week about education deregulation. Many teachers, education leaders and politicians assert that regulations impede the abilities of Indiana's public education system to effectively serve students' needs, and that schools need to be freed from as much regulation as possible to allow them to focus on the pursuit of academic achievement. There are flexibility options or waivers presently provided by federal and state governments to give schools more latitude in implementing programs and complying with certain regulations. Many school administrators and the Governor of Indiana would like to see more. To see the report, visit http://ceep.indiana.edu/projects/PDF/PB_V4N1_Winter_2006_Education_Deregulation.pdf.
- Full-day kindergarten: CEEP has begun a $802,000 federally-funded study of the benefits of full-day kindergarten versus half-day (see http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/2173.html), and its staff have conducted related research in the past (see http://ceep.indiana.edu/projects/PDF/FDK_report_final.pdf). Staff also gauge Hoosier opinion regarding full-day kindergarten each year with CEEP's public opinions poll on education in Indiana (see http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/2747.html, http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/1855.html and http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/1266.html).
- Vouchers and tax credits: CEEP staff address these issues in various reports and have evaluated the Cleveland voucher program for numerous years (see: http://ceep.indiana.edu/projects/project.php4?id=37&category=3).
- Obesity, health and fitness: This policy brief describes the schools' role in addressing childhood obesity (see http://ceep.indiana.edu/projects/PDF/PolicyBrief_Childhood_Obesity.pdf and http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/1831.html).
- 2005 Public Opinions Survey of Education in Indiana: (See http://ceep.indiana.edu/projects/PDF/2005_Public_Opinion_Survey_on_Education_in_Indiana.pdf and http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/2747.html). The "2005 Public Opinion Survey on Education in Indiana," conducted by Indiana University's Center for Evaluation and Education Policy includes responses from Hoosiers surveyed in late fall 2005. For the third year in a row, a majority (62 percent) of Hoosier citizens reported that Indiana public K-12 schools were underfunded, with a growing number of respondents (59 percent) reporting they would pay higher taxes to increase school funding. Another noteworthy finding concerning school funding is the percentage increase of Indiana residents who oppose funding cuts to public schools as a means to balance the state budget -- 76 percent in 2005 as opposed to 60 percent in 2004. In their report CEEP researchers also show that Hoosier support for full-day kindergarten remains strong, with 61 percent of respondents reporting they would pay more taxes if necessary to fund a statewide full-day kindergarten program, compared to only 46 percent three years ago. About 83 percent of respondents said they supported some type of mandatory kindergarten education for Indiana kids.