Indiana superintendents demand action on ISTEP replacement

Indiana superintendents are blasting a state panel for being slow in choosing a replacement for the ISTEP student test, saying more delays will put students at risk.

A letter released Wednesday by 24 southern Indiana superintendents said if the panel chaired by a Gov. Mike Pence appointee fails to act, students will "continue to be pawns of a legislative agenda that does not value the best practices of instruction and assessment."

The pushback comes as top panel members have said Indiana likely will delay any changes until after spring 2018, missing the initial deadline for the ISTEP replacement to be in place. The original timeline called for the new test by the 2017-18 school year, The Indianapolis Star reported.

"It is not fair to our students, nor our parents, nor our staff members," said Stacey Humbaugh, superintendent of South Gibson Schools. "We're no further ahead and all of us anticipated this (panel) was really going to get something done."

Superintendent of Evansville Vanderburgh Community Schools Dave Smith said teachers and students are not being considered in the matter.

"Get politics out of the equation, and do what's right for kids. If we want to continue to change those things that teachers are supposed to do, then they have to understand that comes at a price—students," Smith said.

But Rep. Robert Behing said educators make up much of the panel, which he said is searching for ways to "push the envelope."

The panel is scheduled to meet again Nov. 15 and is expected to make their recommendation by Dec. 1.

The group was made after lawmakers repealed ISTEP during the past legislative session. The repeal currently is scheduled to take effect this summer.

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