Chesterton Tribune



Lanane and Pelath blast attempt to bypass Department of Education as politics over fairness

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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,” they said.

House minority leader Pelath represents portions of the Duneland School District.

Posted 1022/2013