E-mail update from the Indiana House Republicans, sent January 25, 2010:
House Democrats vote in lock step to impose charter school barriers, postpone virtual charter pilot and the Indiana education tax credit.
Indiana House Democrats voted unanimously Monday to place permanent limitations on the creation of new charter schools in a committee report adopted on the floor of the Indiana House. The committee report was opposed by all House Republicans present. In addition to enacting charter school barriers, House Bill 1367 also delays funding for the pilot program for virtual charter schools and postpones the Indiana education tax credit enacted in 2009. These provisions could potentially make Indiana ineligible for the federal “Race to the Top” performance grants.
“House Republicans opposed the onerous charter school barriers in HB 1367 because we feel parents and students deserve more, rather than fewer, educational choices. In addition, it is critical that Indiana remains in the running for millions of federal dollars in the ‘Race to the Top’ grants,” said Representative Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis).
The committee report, offered by Education Committee Chairman Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis), would require 51 percent of all parents of children enrolled in a school district to approve any new charter school and would eliminate the ability of for-profit corporations to sponsor public charter schools. “Innovation in education comes from all sectors of the education community including those for-profit corporations currently operating charter schools in Indiana,” said Rep. Bosma.
House Bill 1367 would also discourage important testing such as K-2 diagnostic testing and grade 3-8 acuity tests. These diagnostic tests help teachers monitor student’s progress in reading and catch issues early in the child’s education while the acuity testing allows teachers to monitor student’s progress throughout the school year to make sure the student does not fall behind. The bill also allows school corporations to discontinue paying for PSAT testing. The PSAT test is critical in preparing students for the SAT as well as allows qualifying students to participate in the national merit scholar program. “These tests are critical to helping students, teachers and Hoosier families. House Republicans proposed other ways to help schools find funding during these difficult economic times but discouraging testing, innovation, and reform is not the way to go,” said Rep. Bosma.
House Bill 1367 will be eligible for further action on the House floor on Thursday, January 27.