Fast Facts•Graduation Rate: 75.8% •Average SAT Score: 1470 •Average ACT Score: 22.3 •4th Grade NAEP Math Score: 52% •8th Grade NAEP Math Score: 38% •4th Grade NAEP Reading Score: 38% •8th Grade NAEP Reading Score: 35% •Per Pupil Funding: $9,343 •Public School Enrollment: 1,046,661
Indiana has been called the “reformiest” state for good reason. A much tested and improved charter school law offers a wide variety of options. A path-breaking, statewide school choice program, expanded in May 2013, has attracted thousands of parents who have chosen private schools for their children. Indiana also offers more digital learning elements than 45 other states and can boast a pretty decent record of teacher quality measures that put the public in the drivers seat. These are just a few of the critical pieces that leaders have put in place to ensure that parent power in Indiana is more than a dream.
The statewide Choice Scholarship Program serves low- and middle-income families across the state and gives vouchers to attend private schools. As of the 2012 school year nearly 10,000 students are participating in the program. In May 2013 Governor Mike Pence signed legislation to expand eligibility to the voucher program even further and allow previously qualified families whose income had increased to remain in the program. There also is a tax credit program that awards scholarships up to the amount of tuition and fees, capped at $7 million annually. The state permits parents some choices among traditional public schools, offering only intra-district public school choice in Indianapolis.SOURCE: The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
Indiana’s charter school climate has vastly improved since 2011. This is the result of numerous positive changes, including the creation of a statewide commission, the Indiana Charter School Board, and the removal of all caps on enrollment and number of schools. Charters also have a large level of autonomy from district regulations, including teacher freedoms.SOURCE: 2014 Charter School Law Rankings and Scorecard
Indiana’s history of policy to support online learning yield important lessons for other states. Students have access to multiple providers of online instruction, but the funding mechanism is overdue for improvement.SOURCE: Digital Learning Now!
Indiana’s data system has the capacity to provide evidence of teacher effectiveness, and has connected licensure advancement and renewal to objective evidence of teacher effectiveness. Evaluations must include student achievement and growth, but law does not specify at what percentage. Ineffective performance is a reason for dismissal, and Indiana has a streamlined appeal process. Performance is the top criterion for districts to consider when laying-off personnel. Indiana has also passed a law that makes teacher evaluations an ineligible subject for collective bargaining.
Indiana uses a variety of factors to determine teacher pay, including experience evaluations and advanced degrees, although each factor can’t count more than one-third.SOURCE: National Council on Teacher Quality
Readily available data on school report cards and parent-friendly resources, including links to school options through choice and charters, are easy to access on Indiana’s state department of education website. Of the 290 local school boards, 274 are elected and 16 are appointed. Election schedules vary, with a majority held in May, some in November, and a few held on other unspecified dates.