Home Breaking News Teacher Bonuses Won’t Be Hurt By Poor ILEARN Scores

Teacher Bonuses Won’t Be Hurt By Poor ILEARN Scores

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Teacher Bonuses Won’t Be Hurt By Poor ILEARN Scores

Maxine Bryant always wondered about her birth family. When she turned 60, she found them through an ancestry site using DNA.Kelly Wilkinson

A bonus coming to Indiana teachers won’t be impacted by students’ poor performance on last year’s new ILEARN test.
Schools can use the previous year’s ISTEP scores and resulting A-F grades when distributing dollars from the state’s Teacher Appreciation Grant, according to guidance issued by the Indiana Department of Education last week. The grant dollars will be distributed next week to school corporations, which then have 20 days to divvy the cash among eligible teachers.
School accountability grades play a role in TAG awards, so school districts can choose to use 2017-18 grades, the department said. The 2018-19 grades haven’t been made public yet, but they’re expected to be significantly lower for many schools.
At the release of ILEARN results earlier this fall, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick warned that the state could see unprecedented numbers of D- or F-rated schools.
“You’re talking over half of the state,” she said at an August press conference, “over half of the schools.”

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Schools will receive their grades on Nov. 1, according to the new guidance.

McCormick was one of many state leaders advocating for a one-year reprieve from consequences for schools and teachers after the ILEARN results — showing a precipitous drop from the previous year’s ISTEP test — began circulating.

Fewer than half of students passed both English and math portions of the test — administered for the first time last spring to all students in grades three through eight.

Statehouse leaders issued a letter to McCormick and the State Board of Education last week, asking them to release the guidance to “ensure that no teacher will lose eligibility for a TAG because of this year’s ILEARN results.”

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The letter, from House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray, said that leaders would codify the policy when the 2020 legislative session gets underway in January. They also committed to passing legislation to hold schools harmless for any consequences from the 2018-19 accountability grades. Several years of failing grades can trigger state intervention and more.

Educators praised the move to hold schools and teachers harmless but called on lawmakers to do more for teachers. Teacher pay became one of the most contentious issues during the last legislative session, with hundreds of teachers rallying at the Statehouse to call for raises.

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“Our members have been asking for action on this issue, and this is a step in the right direction,” said Keith Gambill, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association. “Kids, teachers, schools, and communities should not be penalized for low scores on the first year of a new test. While we appreciate considerations made for teachers who would qualify for a TAG, we also urge legislators to take steps toward adding to base salaries rather than relying on grants and stipends.”

 

A panel, convened by Gov. Eric Holcomb, is currently looking at the teacher pay issue with the goal of delivering innovative ideas to raise salaries ahead of the 2021 budget session.

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