Fast action promised on bill to change ISTEP

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – State lawmakers returned to the Statehouse Tuesday preparing to do battle on issues that include abortion, gun rights and gay rights.

But an issue that affects most families is already the subject of widespread agreement.

It has to do with the ISTEP test given in Indiana public schools. There’s a plan to take a one-year break from school grades that are tied to ISTEP.

The plan would also cut the ties between ISTEP results and teacher pay for one year.

It’s the result of problems in the administration of the ISTEP exam that have led to falling test results statewide.

It’s a key element of the agenda put forward today by the Republican super majority in the Indiana Senate.

“The bill actually allows the grades to go higher if they score higher last year than the year before,” said Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn,) “but does not provide for them to go lower than the year before.”

Democrats are on board with the idea.

“Let’s hold folks harmless from the over exuberance of a few and do it without complicating the issue,” said Rep. Scott Pelath (D-Minority Leader.) “It’s also time to carefully plan for the demise of ISTEP.”

Public hearings on the ISTEP bill will begin in House and Senate committees on Wednesday.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll see that legislation move in either chamber in the next week,” said Governor Mike Pence, “and get to my desk as soon as possible.”

It’s on a fast track and legislative leaders hope to have it signed into law by the end of the month.

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