Pence-Holcomb Administration’s PR Mess with ISTEP

INDIANAPOLIS – The Pence-Holcomb Administration created a public relations crisis when it came to addressing the deeply unpopular ISTEP exam. Not only did Mike Pence put teachers in a bind when they shortened the testing period, but the administration was caught altering an “independent” investigation into the test itself.

“Mike Pence and Eric Holcomb have favored unrealistic accountability standards to state testing – forcing teachers to teach to a test as opposed to the students. But what’s worse, the administration was then caught tampering with an investigation intended to be independent from the state,” said John Zody, Chairman. “From day one, Statehouse Republicans’ only concern has been their political agenda – as they’ve still failed to act on creating a new testing system. They would rather force standards set by special interest groups than allow schools to teach to their kids. We will do better when John Gregg and Glenda Ritz are able to work together in the Statehouse to truly address the challenges facing our state’s education system.”

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: PENCE-HOLCOMB ADMINISTRATION CREATE PR CRISIS WITH ISTEP

Pence-Holcomb Administration Alter “Independent” Report on ISTEP

HEADLINE: APNewsBreak: Indiana official had say in independent report. [Associated Press, 2/16/16]

Report Billed as Independent Investigation into Standardized Student Exam Included Edits from State Administrator Hired by Pence. “A report summarizing what was billed as an independent investigation into Indiana’s new, unpopular standardized student exam includes edits and suggested changes by a state administrator hired by Gov. Mike Pence’s State Board of Education who altered language that reflected poorly on Republicans’ decision to substitute the exam for one based on national Common Core academic standards. A Microsoft Word file obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request contains multiple edits and drafts of the report, including the final version, which was ultimately submitted by consultants hired by the state Board of Education but not yet released to the public.” [Associated Press, 2/16/16]

State Board of Education Executive Director Snethen Shaped Content Through 92 Deletions, Revisions, and Comments. “The document shows State Board of Education executive director John Snethen helped shape the content through 92 deletions, revisions and comments, raising questions about how independent the investigation into the ISTEP program was.” [Associated Press, 2/16/16]

By Shortening ISTEP Exam, Mike Pence Puts Teachers in Bind

HEADLINE: “Teachers Feel Stuck As ISTEP Battle Wages On” [WTHR, 2/11/15]

Greensburg Daily News: “Governor Mike Pence’s Unprecedented Move To Try And Shorten The [ISTEP+] Exam Is Putting Some Educators In A Bind, Weeks Before They Are Set To Administer The Test.” “Pallets of ISTEP tests are arriving at Indiana schools, but this edition of the state’s premiere test may turn out to be dead weight. Governor Mike Pence’s unprecedented move to try and shorten the exam is putting some educators in a bind, weeks before they are set to administer the test. The ink is barely dry on 67 boxes of ISTEP exams delivered Monday to Brownsburg Community Schools. ‘There are a lot of unanswered questions that we shouldn’t be dealing with 11 days before testing is supposed to start,’ said Dr. Jim Snapp, Superintendent of Brownsburg Community Schools… ‘I was shocked by the Governor’s announcement. While I understand the concerns that he has, I’m also wondering about the direction that we are going to go,’ Snapp said. ‘While the test was long, we knew the test was going to start in 11 days and it was going to be long. After his announcement today, I have no idea, nor do any of the educators across the state, have an idea of where we are heading with this.’” [Greensburg Daily News, 2/10/15]

Superintendent Of Brownsburg Community Schools Dr. Jim Snapp: “After [Pence’s] Announcement Today, I Have No Idea, Nor Do Any Of The Educators Across The State, Have An Idea Of Where We Are Heading With This.” “Pallets of ISTEP tests are arriving at Indiana schools, but this edition of the state’s premiere test may turn out to be dead weight. Governor Mike Pence’s unprecedented move to try and shorten the exam is putting some educators in a bind, weeks before they are set to administer the test. The ink is barely dry on 67 boxes of ISTEP exams delivered Monday to Brownsburg Community Schools. ‘There are a lot of unanswered questions that we shouldn’t be dealing with 11 days before testing is supposed to start,’ said Dr. Jim Snapp, Superintendent of Brownsburg Community Schools… ‘I was shocked by the Governor’s announcement. While I understand the concerns that he has, I’m also wondering about the direction that we are going to go,’ Snapp said. ‘While the test was long, we knew the test was going to start in 11 days and it was going to be long. After his announcement today, I have no idea, nor do any of the educators across the state, have an idea of where we are heading with this.’” [Greensburg Daily News, 2/10/15]

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