INPEA Statehouse Express

Statehouse Express: Season 5, Episode 2

January 29, 2024 INPEA Season 5 Episode 2
Statehouse Express: Season 5, Episode 2
INPEA Statehouse Express
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INPEA Statehouse Express
Statehouse Express: Season 5, Episode 2
Jan 29, 2024 Season 5 Episode 2

Tune in for INPEA Executive Director John Elcesser's latest update from the Indiana Statehouse the week of January 29, 2024! 

Show Notes Transcript

Tune in for INPEA Executive Director John Elcesser's latest update from the Indiana Statehouse the week of January 29, 2024! 

Statehouse Express: Season 5, Episode 2
January 29, 2024

Hi I’m John Elcesser, Executive Director at INPEA, and welcome to Episode 2 in Season 5 of the Statehouse Express. Last week was National School Choice Week where states from around the country celebrated the blessings of school choice programs. 27,000 events were held around the country, including a number here in Indiana.

While that was going on, business was happening as usual at the Indiana Statehouse, where both education committees met on Wednesday. The House Education committee met for the last time during the first half of the legislative session. They heard six bills and we’ll briefly highlight four in terms of their non-public school impact.

HB 1243, which is a Various Education Matters Bill, deals in part with the requirements around a redefined high school diploma which would impact the 2029 graduation cohort. It also includes a requirement for students to take a stand alone computer science course before graduating. That requirement would also go into effect in 2029. It passed out of committee amended 12-0.

HB 1073 (8-2 amended) has a focus on special education with some changes dealing with seclusion and restraint. In part, it deals with requirements for the seclusion and restraint commission. It also requires public schools by July of 2025 to have cameras in seclusion areas. This requirement does not apply to nonpubs.

HB 1137 deals with release time from public schools to attend religious education activities with certain parameters and limitations.

HB 1304 is a various education matters bill which includes both reading and math items. First, it defines “literacy coach” in terms of required qualifications and training. It also calls for the establishment of micro-credentials for K-8 math teachers. And finally it charges the DOE with reviewing and approving math curriculum materials, including math screeners. Many of the math requirements do not apply to nonpubs at least as the current bill language stands, although it may be considered best practice, something we “should do” even if not required.

In Senate ED, two bills had implications for nonpubs.

SB 6 requires the Department of Education to develop methods to identify at risk readers and provide guidance and support to address these students’ needs.

SB 8 which was labeled a higher ed bill but also included a requirement for high schools to teach courses that are included in the Indiana College Core. The current language says if schools can’t comply they must submit an implementation plan. In discussions with the legislator who authored the bill, she said if a school doesn’t have the capacity to comply (for example, they don’t have enough students to offer that broad of a  program, or they don’t have the properly credentialed teachers to teach the ICC courses). I have shared my concerns for our smaller schools. INPEA has 32 high schools with less than 150 students and 21 with less than 100. In schools that size most of the scheduled classes are singletons which makes offering the full Indiana College Core extremely difficult. We hope to continue to work with the Commission for Education and the author to find a reasonable compromise. SB 8 passed out of committee 12-0. For information on the ICC visit the ICC web page .

SB 185 deals with cell phone usage in schools. It does not currently apply to nonpubs. It passed out of committee 12-0.

We continue to monitor SB 1 which focuses on reading mastery and the current language includes a number of requirements for non-public schools. It was further amended in Senate Appropriations and then passed out of Appropriations 8-3. We encourage you to read the bill. It can be found on the General Assembly website or linked here.

We also have heard that the ESA expansion bill SB 143 is dead for this session. We anticipate this bill or Senator Mishler’s SB255 will come back session. So stay tuned!

There have been some red flags especially in the Senate where more and more education bills are applying to state accredited nonpubs and “eligible” or choice schools. We typically try to keep regulations off of choice schools for obvious reasons. We continue to share our feedback with authors and education committee leadership. Some areas are just easier to push back on than others.

This will be the last week for committee hearings in the first half of the session. House Ed finished up last week. Senate Ed will finish up this Wednesday. We will then know what bills are still in play for the second half of the session.

Watch for our legislative alerts, especially in the second half of the session.

So until the next stop on the Statehouse Express. Take care...Be well and God bless!