Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pence Issues Order to Shorten ISTEP Test, Ritz Plans to Ignore It

Apparently Gov. Mike Pence wanted to clarify who really runs education in Indiana by issuing an "executive order" demanding that the expanded ISTEP tests be shortened. Then a spokesperson for Superintendent for Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said that there are no plans to make any changes in the new ISTEP. As reported in Chalkbeat Indiana, "Danielle Shockey, Ritz’s deputy superintendent, said the order would likely have no effect and that the test could not be significantly cut down unless the legislature changes requirements in state law or the U.S. Department of Education offered special freedom from its rules that it has so far denied. 'There is nothing in that order that would cause us to pause,' she said."

Chalkbeat explains the regulatory constraints under which Ritz's staff determined that the tests would have to be longer this year. (In part it has to do with the state's decision to replace the national Common Core standard with a unique Indiana standard.) Meanwhile, Pence has engaged a Michigan State professor and the company that makes the ISTEP to explore ways to shorten the test. Any changes to the test will have to be implemented by February 28. Looks like things will be heating up even more as long as petulant Republicans insist on having everything their way.