Indiana Governor Mike Pence this afternoon signed legislation giving schools a reprieve from the 2015 ISTEP exam.  Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 200, holds schools harmless for their A-F grades for the 2014-2015 year to accommodate the transition to more rigorous academic standards. The second, House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1003, ensures that teacher bonuses and evaluations are not negatively impacted by the transition to a new test this year.

Below is reaction from various Statehouse Leaders.

Governor Mike Pence

  • “Today, we are saying thank you to Indiana’s dedicated teachers by ensuring that the results of our new test with higher standards will not negatively impact them, their families, or our schools. These new laws ensure that teacher compensation and bonuses will not be affected by the results of our recent ISTEP test and will ensure that our schools’ performance is fairly reflected when A-F grades are assigned later this year. I am grateful for the swift and bipartisan efforts by members of the General Assembly and the Superintendent that put our kids, schools, and teachers first.”

Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz

  • “The passage and enactment of this legislation is a welcome step and something that I have been fighting for over the last eighteen months.  These common sense bills recognize the reality that when leadership in Indianapolis changes our standards, we need to give our schools time to adjust.  I have appreciated recent momentum behind this vital issue, but it is worth noting that this issue should have been dealt with a year ago.  Had we done so, there is no doubt that much of the consternation and difficulty our schools experienced in the last year could have been avoided.  Our students and schools need leadership that focuses on them, not ideology.  As a lifelong educator, I support accountability, but it has to be accountability that is fair.  Moving forward, that should include looking at ways to reform our assessment and move beyond the expensive, lengthy, high stakes, pass/fail approach of ISTEP+.  As Superintendent, I will continue to fight for legislation that streamlines and strengthens our assessment system, works to stem the teacher shortage, expands our Pre-K infrastructure, expands resources for special needs students, cuts red tape for schools by streamlining data collections and increases technological equity for all schools.  Our students, schools, educators and communities deserve nothing less.”

Senate President Pro Tempore David Long

  • “This legislation provides fairness for our teachers, students and schools that have had to deal with the problem-plagued 2015 ISTEP test. I was pleased to see the Indiana Senate and House of Representatives, Governor Pence, Superintendent Ritz and the State Board of Education work collaboratively to find a solution that is in the best interest of our schools and our state. I’m hopeful that we can now move forward and work together in a similar fashion to craft an improved testing program to better serve our schools and children in the future.”

 House Speaker Brian Bosma

  • “House and Senate leaders, the Department of Education and the governor’s office agreed early on that we had to act quickly to ensure teachers and schools were held harmless from the transition to the new ISTEP standards. Our teachers and schools worked hard to prepare students for our new, tougher tests, and the lower scores are not a reflection of their efforts. Legislators worked at record pace to send these bills through the process, and we will be looking at ways to establish a framework for a more effective and streamlined test in the future.”

State Representative Bob Behning, Chairman House Education Committee

  • “No educator should feel they are being unfairly penalized during this transition to higher standards and a tougher test. After hearing concerns from both educators and administrators, we knew that action needed to be taken. I am pleased both the House and the Senate were able to work quickly to alleviate concerns for teachers and schools.”

Democratic State Representative Terry Goodin

  • “Today’s actions are the logical result of years of tinkering that have basically boiled the educational process down to whether or not your child can pass a test. And not just any test, but one that has been continually plagued by computer errors, incorrect scores and delays in both taking the test and getting the score. We now see many school days revolve around preparing children to take the test, and we have succeeded in making ISTEP such a monster that our kids are haunted by it. In my job away from the Legislature, I have seen the impact: kids throwing up, kids who can’t sleep, kids who can’t eat…all because they’re worried about taking this infernal test.