INDIANAPOLIS – On Tuesday,
Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) and Indiana House
Democratic Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) released the following
statement in response to developments concerning the release of the state’s
A-F school grades.
“In a meeting open to the
public, The Department of Education candidly laid out their expectation to
deliver A-F grading data no later than Thanksgiving. According to Department
officials, the results were being held so any parent wishing to contest
their student’s ISTEP scores were given due time to complete an appeal. Not
once during these public meetings were concerns raised by parents, teachers,
administrators, or anyone for that matter, regarding the timeliness of the
results," the lawmakers said in a statement released today.
“Considering that 80,000
Hoosiers students experienced ISTEP testing disruptions this year, the
controversy surrounding the previous administration’s careless grading
methodology and that the Department’s timetable puts the release of school
grades at most 20 business days behind last year’s release, we’d say we are
right on track. Regrettably, some believe achieving political victory trumps
ensuring Hoosier students, teachers and local schools receiving the grade
they rightfully earned," they said.
“Instead of working with the
Department, the Pence-appointed Board of Education has prodded Republican
legislative leadership to subvert the process, and in doing so, unashamedly
trampled state law and politicized the traditionally non-partisan
Legislative Services Agency.
“The statute is clear, the
Department of Education and the Superintendent have the sole authority to
assess and determine school accountability grades. Any other interpretation
is a disingenuous attempt to sidestep the letter of the law.
“Hoosier students deserve to
know the grades they worked for are accurate. Parents and teachers deserve
the satisfaction of knowing their hard work paid off. Elevating cheap
politics over ensuring accuracy is a far cry from what Hoosiers expect,”
House minority leader Pelath represents portions of the
Duneland School District.