Huston exits College Board job as controversy brews over education bill

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Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers

Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston has left his non-legislative job at the College Board, the organization that administers the SAT exam.

The Fishers Republican exited his nearly half-a-million-dollar-a-year job as senior vice president for state and district partnerships with the College Board on Monday, a spokesperson from his office told IBJ in an email.

Huston said in a written statement that he had been considering how to balance both the responsibility of House Speaker and his job, and he ultimately decided to leave the College Board.

“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have served over 9 years with the College Board and helped carry out their mission to promote college readiness across the U.S. Since taking on the role of House Speaker, I’ve contemplated how I could best balance the tremendous level of responsibility required in my substantial role at the College Board and as a public servant. Ultimately, I decided to leave the College Board family,” Huston said in the statement. “I’m beyond grateful for the experience and relationships built with the talented leadership and staff at an amazing organization. As of right now, I’m focused on a strong, successful finish to this legislative session. I want to recharge my batteries post-session before considering future opportunities.”

His spokesperson said his departure was not related to legislative efforts at the Statehouse right now.

Huston’s decision to leave his job comes on the heels of the House passing a bill that would limit what teachers can teach about issues relating to race, and other divisive concepts, such as discussions about sex, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin or political affiliation.

Huston voted in favor of the bill, which is a rarity because the speaker often abstains from voting. Questions had since been raised about his dual roles as a lawmaker supporting the legislation and how that reflected on his job at the College Board and the organization itself. The College Board notably crafts Advanced Placement courses and administers the SAT.

Liberal activist and author of the Popular Information newsletter Judd Legum published an article on Monday questioning if the College Board supported Huston’s efforts to limit how divisive concepts are taught in the classrooms, and noted that Huston’s role at the College Board involved him working as the organization’s top liaison to schools.

The College Board, in a written statement to IBJ, said Huston left the organization because “the demands of both his role here and his elected position are not sustainable.”

“He wants to devote more time to his work in Indiana. We’re grateful for his nine successful years at the College Board. Over that time, Todd has cultivated a superb team of leaders, who are now well prepared to lead our work with state and district partners,” the College Board said.

Huston took the job at the College Board in 2012, the same year he was elected to the Indiana House. He made $460,738 in his role at the College Board, according to the board’s 2019 tax filings. Huston was appointed Indiana House Speaker in 2020, following the retirement of former House Speaker Brian Bosma.

Indiana Democratic Party Executive Director Lauren Ganapini called Huston a “walking conflict-of-interest” in a statement regarding his departure from the College Board on Tuesday.

“While him parting ways from the College Board is good for education overall, House Bill 1134 is still alive and risks putting Indiana’s teacher shortage in overdrive,” Ganapini said in the statement.

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24 thoughts on “Huston exits College Board job as controversy brews over education bill

    1. Randy, that is also my take. Why would you give up a full time $460K job for a $76K “part time” job. You cannot love power that much.

    1. The best way to make sure people never learn from history is to ensure that history isn’t taught.

    2. I know, isn’t it shocking how the same party that tried to propel the Lost Cause Theory in the Jim Crow Era is back at it again, selectively choosing certain key events to emphasize while suppressing others, all to help serve to elevate a culturally humiliated subset of the population? Truly is 1962 all over again. But they were doing it in 1948 as well.

    3. A reminder that the Republican Party of 1948 or 1962 or even 2002 would have also called populism garbage and made sure that populists were kept far away from the levers of power because the threat they pose to democracy.

      Times change. Keep up.

    4. You lefties need to get a life. Nobody is talking about white-washing history. The issue is to not pit one group of students against another, or making one group feel ashamed of who they are just because of the amount of melanin in their skin.

      Ironic that you lefties who are so hell-bent on peeling scabs off wounds all but healed to make yourselves feel good are the very people who refuse to learn from the lessons of history…which are the best lessons of all because history has repeated itself over and over, time and again, because know-it-alls who think “it will be different THIS time” refuse to accept the wisdom to be gained by learning from the past.

    5. “Wounds are all but healed”?

      Bob, cmon. You can’t be that ignorant of current events.

      You want to ban teachers from separating kids in exercises, OK. This bill has very little to do about that. Nor can I wait until Black or Hispanic or LBGTQ students use this bill to their benefit, either.

      It’s simply making sure politicians can insert themselves in the classroom, when maybe they should focus on outcomes. The more they fix education, the worse the outcomes for students. Yet they seem to think teachers are the problems.

      You used to teach. Explain to me how teachers are going to post their entire curriculum online, along with an “alternate” one for any offended students, by August 1st. I was told teachers didn’t deserve more money because they just laid around all summer and did nothing. Are they supposed to do all this work for free in their off time?

      Maybe the Legislature, in their infinite wisdom, should just mandate the exact lesson plans for every student in Indiana. Just make every teacher a robot, a disposable cog who shows up and reads the words that Huston and Behning have given them to read from on high. Because, obviously, they know better than teachers or people with education degrees. I mean, Behning was a florist. He must know a lot more about teaching kids than you ever did, Bob.

    6. Yes, Joe B., many wounds are all but healed. A perfect world? If you are waiting for that or think you can implement its taking place, you are sadly mistaken….it will never be. Never.

      You show a chronic ignorance of history if you cannot envision the discrimination against black people of even 50 years ago and not notice the profound differences today. Or maybe you weren’t alive 50 years ago and, like ‘way too many people, think history began the day you were born and, so, you may ignore anything that happened prior to the world being gifted with your intellect.

    7. Sure, Bob. Ignoring what happened to Ahmaud Arbery in 2020, Emmitt Till of 1955 would never happen again.

      And we’d never have white supremacists blow up a church like in 1963, they just walk in and shoot people like in 2015.

      And never take the right to vote away from Black people via poll taxes and literacy requirements like they did under Jim Crow, we’d just give them no voting machines and make it a crime to give people standing in line water. And when that’s not enough, when they still don’t vote “the right way”, we’d accuse them of targeted fraud despite a complete and total lack of evidence to the contrary and pass new laws to ignore their votes altogether like we’ve done in 2021.

      Please, though. Go on about those profound differences some more. Just don’t tell me you were a history teacher. You may have lived through that history, but with all due respect, I don’t think you learned anything from it.

    8. And how much history have you lived through, Joe B?

      If your 2015 citation is about Dylan Root in Charleston SC, who killed the black people in that church in cold blood, my opinion has long been that he should have been executed within six months of that evil deed, following a fair trial…which in and of itself, could have been very short and swift. Yes, I firmly believe in the death penalty in cases like that…and not after 20 years of appeals and other nonsense when the evidence is so conclusive and overwhelming.

      If you think you’ll ever live in a perfect world, you’re kidding yourself…but to deny the enormous strides that have been made in the last 50 years so you can pompously continue to walk around with a chip on your shoulder is ignoring history.

    9. You should have stayed down, Bob.

      The speed of punishment is irrelevant, as is my age and what I’ve lived through. You’re welcome to attempt to point out the “enormous strides” if you want to keep doing poorly in this debate.

      The world will never be perfect but the idea that “wounds are all but healed” implies that things that happened in the past have stopped happening and we can move on because the current state is good enough. As I pointed out via multiple examples, that’s sadly not the case.

    1. Who in their late 40’s willingly quits a half million dollar a year job to focus on something that pays around 80% less?

      I mean, the per diem for legislators isn’t that good, and it’s not like the cost of living in Fishers is that low.

    2. “Less people like Randy S”? Not only is that unnecessarily insulting to a fellow reader, it also is an ironic reflection of the whole broader topic. Huston doesn’t want our kids to learn the uncomfortable truths about history, and this commenter doesn’t want to discuss the possibility that Randy S raises–that one of our up-and-coming Indiana political leaders is taking embarrassing, anti-education public positions that conflict with the mission of the organization where he was a high-level leader. Huston most certainly was embarrassing to CB, and he is embarrassing to many of us Hoosiers, too. Of course the other possibility is that he sees losing his half-million-dollar job as an investment in his long-term desired future as a power-hungry Trump-style politician. There are plenty of Republicans angling for leadership in the Trump Party, and investing big money in following that dubious dream.

    3. Thanks for the support, Steve. And, James P., just exactly how would you accomplish “having less people like [me]? Sounds a little threatening, a little authoritarian. Just like the kind of people your represent.

  1. Well, the state already switched from iSTEP to the SAT for standardized testing in the high schools, so the College Board already got their big benefit from Mr. Hudson.

    1. Brad – You don’t really know what you are talking about. iStep went to iLearn and then something out. Those are state standardized testing in the primary grades HS and less. The SAT has always been given, to high schoolers, as a standardized test to get into Colleges. The SAT (College Board) is not what is used in primary grades.

    2. Mark W. – My wording was poor and there isn’t editing on IBJ comments so I couldn’t change iStep to iLearn although that missed the point: The SAT is replacing the iLearn for Juniors in High School in Indiana. The change is that all Juniors (even if they aren’t going to college) will be taking the SAT. This switch is a win for the College Board since, many colleges and universities are moving away from SATs and ACTs. This change in State testing will keep the SAT going.

  2. Since colleges are increasingly reducing the requirement for entrance exams (SAT/ACT) as an admission requirement, it would follow that the College Board is going to downsize down the road. One wonders if he got out while severance/retirement package was still generous?

  3. Good point Toni, most colleges and universities (not the IU’s and Purdue’s) are starving for enrollment. They are caring less about the SAT scores and more about filling the classrooms.

  4. I think the salary comment for his “substantial role” at CB of $460K should be compared to the starting salary of a highly educated “substantial”role of your family medicine physician. $208,813. Something isn’t right, here.
    Physician – Family Practice Salary in Indiana › … › Physician – Family Practice
    The Physician – Family Practice role earned an average salary of $208813 in Indiana in 2022.