Bill to change school grading system passes Senate committee

FILE (WISH Photo/Nick Natario)

INDIANAPOLIS Ind. (WISH) — Lawmakers passed a bill through the Senate committee Wednesday that could have a big impact on the way schools are graded. The bill’s author says it will change the way school corporations are held accountable.

Inside House Bill 1384 is a measure that could change the way school corporations are graded by the Department of Education. In other words, it affects how those A through F grades are handed out every year.

It started as a concern about the number of students leaving high school to be home-schooled. Lawmakers noticed there were a large number of kids leaving high schools when they’re behind on credits, opting instead to home-school or do virtual school. That puts the burden of under-performing students on their new school.

Rep. Robert Behning, the Education Committee chair, believes some high schools are asking credit deficient students to leave so they don’t count against the school corporation’s letter grade.

“It’s not that we’re against homeschooling,” Behning said. “It’s just most parents wouldn’t do it in high school, they would start in elementary and the numbers in high school are almost triple of what an elementary grade would be. So there’s a lot of concern, a lot of ideas on how to we make sure this is better controlled to make sure they are really providing services to these students and not just basically asking them to leave to go to another education environment that may not be in their best interests.”

Behning says there a few amendments that have been added. One proposes if a student leaves to be home-schooled the school they left would not receive funding for the rest of the year for that student. Another proposal would reward schools for taking in students who are credit deficient and helping them graduate. This ultimately will help virtual and charter schools currently receiving F grades because they’re taking in credit deficient junior and seniors.

HB 1384 passed out of committee and is headed to the Senate floor.

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