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Last modified: Monday, June 20, 2011

44th Education Leadership Conference at IU School of Education features free public events

Two-day event to focus on new policies, laws, help for struggling schools

June 20, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The public is invited for two panel discussions regarding changing K-12 education policies and laws as part of the 44th Annual Education Leadership Summer Conference at the Indiana University School of Education this week.

Panels including state legislators, a representative of the Indiana Governor's office, education law professors, attorneys, and research experts will take place from 3:30-6 p.m. on Thursday, June 23 at the Wright Education Building in Bloomington. No registration is required for the panel discussions, which will be held in the auditorium of the Wright Building.

Elementary Teacher

Recent changes in Indiana education policy and how schools should handle emerging legal issues is the focus of public panel discussions at the IU School of Education.

The panels are part of the two day leadership conference sponsored by the IU School Administrators Association, the IU School of Education, and the Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (CEEP) with support from the Midwest Regional Education Laboratory -- a U.S. Department of Education institute that connects educational systems with education research and related technical assistance activities.

"Educators in K-12 education in Indiana have not witnessed comprehensive education reform like this since the "A Plus Schools" agenda passed in 1987 by then Gov. Robert Orr and State Superintendent H. Dean Evans," said Terry Spradlin, director for education policy at CEEP. "The new laws to be discussed at the conference will have far-reaching and a long-lasting impact on public education and stakeholders need to be in tune with these changes."

The first panel discussion, beginning at 3:30 p.m., focuses on Indiana education policy and is titled "How will the 2011 session of the Indiana General Assembly change the future of K-12 education?" Panelists include Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, and chair of the House Education Committee; Todd Bess, associate executive director of the Indiana Association of School Principals; Rep. Terry Goodin, D-Austin; Scott Jenkins, senior policy director for education in the Indiana Governor's office; Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn; and Sen. Vi Simpson, D-Ellettsville.

At 5 p.m., education law is the topic for the panel "Emerging Legal Issues within Indiana and the Nation." Panelists include IU School of Education faculty members who are school law scholars -- Martha McCarthy, Chancellor's Professor of educational leadership and policy studies (ELPS), and Suzanne Eckes, associate professor in ELPS. Other panelists are: Janet Decker, assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati where she researches special education law; Allison Fetter-Harrott, assistant professor at Franklin College where she has researched school legal issues and dealt with them as a practicing attorney; Michelle Gough, legal and policy specialist with the Indiana Department of Education; and Emily Richardson, associate instructor with the IU School of Education and a former grade school teacher who now teaches education law and ethics at IU.

"We'll speak briefly about some of the legal issues that could arise with the state's collective bargaining laws, the new voucher plan, and some of the other issues that are happening in Indiana," said Eckes. "Then we'll move into other important emerging issues that we get a lot of calls about from superintendents, principals, and teachers."

Eckes added that student Internet speech is a likely topic as well as emerging issues surrounding harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.

The larger conference will continue on Friday, featuring sessions on preventing dropouts in high school and preparing students for college and the workforce. Keynote speaker Nicole Farmer Hurd, executive director of the National Advising Corp., will speak on preventing high school drop outs and high school reform. Lisa Shimmel, policy analyst at the American Institutes for Research, will present the session "Implementing Effective Dropout Prevention Practice." Eric Ban, principal at Crown Point High School, will present "All Kids Prepared for College and the Workplace -- Welcome to the Indiana College Acceleration Network!"

The 44th annual conference is a tradition of the IU School Administrators Association, which has long held the event as a time for school leaders to meet and discuss best practices. The IU School Administrators Association is an organization of past Indiana University educational leadership graduates from around the country who continue to work to bring support and recognition to current and future school leaders.

The Thursday panel discussions will also be available streaming online. You can view the 3:30 p.m. policy panel live at; after Thursday it will be archived at

The 5 p.m. law panel is available live at; after Thursday is will be archived at