Indiana’s 2019 Graduation Rate Is Steady, But Fewer Students Are Passing The Exit Exam

first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Indiana’s 2019 Graduation Rate Is Steady, But Fewer Students Are Passing The Exit ExamBy EMMA KATE FITTES FOR CLARKBEAT, INDIANA growing number of high school students in Indiana are graduating without passing the state’s exit exam, according to newly released state data.Indiana’s overall graduation rate remained largely steady in 2019, amid nearly a decade of stagnant results. In 2019, 87% of seniors graduated, compared to 88% in 2018. But that number drops to 76% when accounting for students who used a test waiver.Waivers allow students to graduate without passing the state’s mandated test if they complete a list of other requirements, which can include retaking the exam and maintaining a high attendance rate and at least a C average.The waiver option allows students with special education needs, who are English language learners, or who have just struggled repeatedly to pass the test an avenue to earn a high school diploma. But some education advocates are concerned that schools could graduate students who don’t have the necessary knowledge and skills.Statewide, around 9,000 students used this option to graduate — the highest number the state has seen in nearly a decade. Almost twice as many students used a waiver in 2019, compared to nine years ago.Database: Search for your school’s 2019 graduation rateWhen asked about the drop in non-waiver graduates, Adam Baker, a state education spokesperson, pointed to the change in Indiana’s required exam. Graduates in 2019 were the first class required to pass the state’s ISTEP test in grade 10, as opposed to high schools’ end-of-course exams.The state will undergo another change to the exit exam by 2023 when high schoolers will be required to take either the SAT or ACT. Lawmakers are expected this year to choose one of the college entrance exams, which will be administered by the state.Indiana could see fewer students require waivers as it adopts what’s known as graduation pathways, which offers Indiana high schoolers multiple options for completing the requirements to graduate, thus deemphasizing testing. Students choose their path based on their interests, such as going to college or earning a technical certification.Supporters of the approach say pathways better prepares students for careers, but critics insist the options could lower the bar for Indiana’s students and devalue the state’s diploma.The new data also shows that virtual schools continue to post some of the lowest overall graduation rates in the state. Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy, which closed in September after the state found it inflated enrollment, saw 5.6% of its senior’s graduate. Achieve Virtual Education Academy graduated 48%, and Indiana Connections Academy graduated 61%.Nationally, only about half of virtual students graduate on time, said Gary Miron, a national policy fellow at the National Education Policy Center.Lawmakers will have to consider these numbers as they look to improve the state’s struggling virtual schools. The stakes are high for Indiana high schoolers, particularly the population these schools say they serve: students who struggle in traditional schools.“These schools are universally failing and we continue to send millions of dollars to them,” said Miron, a critic of virtual schools.Among the state’s virtual schools, Indiana Connections Academy stood out with the highest proportion of its graduates relying on waivers. About half of Connections’ nearly 600 graduates used a waiver.The school did not respond to Chalkbeat’s request for comment on Thursday.In Marion County, almost all school districts had graduation rates above 85%. One exception: Beech Grove City Schools’ graduation rate dropped 10 percentage points from the year prior, to 79%. On the other end of the spectrum, Franklin Township had the highest graduation rate in the county, 97%.Indianapolis Public Schools’ graduation rate remained relatively steady after three years of gains. This year, 82% of students graduated, down one percentage point from 2018.Across the state, racial inequities persist. Some 94% of seniors who are Asian and 89% of seniors who are white graduate. By contrast, students who are black and those with special needs had graduation rates below 80%. Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch also posted lower graduation rates.“There is still work to be done,” said State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick in a press release. “The Department will continue to commit its resources to local districts, working together to ensure our children graduate prepared for life beyond high school.”last_img read more

Fielding Manor Drive Homeowners Speak Out Against IGA Development

first_imgFielding Manor Drive Homeowners Speak Out Against IGA DevelopmentJUNE 15TH, 2018  JEFF GOLDBERG EVANSVILLE, INDIANAGetting an IGA store, sandwich shop and gas station on the corner of the Lloyd Expressway and Fielding Road was a challenge. After the Area Plan Commission voted against it, members the Evansville City Council took it into their own hands to give the wooded area near Harrison High School something new. They overruled the Area Plan Commission and at the time residents of the street the development backs up to had questions.Now they have even more questions after they say an original plan was changed without any notice. They noticed the changes only after access to their road, Fielding Manor Court, was shut down. There’s not many living on the private road, just 6 families, but they say a new plan to route their only way to and from their homes is a major detriment.The way the new plan has the current Fielding Manor Drive going away. When finished, the project has the new Fielding Manor Drive actually going through the parking lot of the to be built IGA store. The homeowners there say this would greatly decrease their home values, increase traffic and decrease accessibility. They say they moved in for the secluded safe feeling and they are already losing that.Some of the homeowners have been trying to get any official to give them some answers. They have been put through the ringer, INDOT tells them to go to the city of Evansville, the city tells them to talk to the city council, but they say it all boils down to the city engineer’s office.ATTACHED BELOW IS THE STATEMENT THAT 44NEWS RECEIVED FROM THE EVANSVILLE CITY ENGINEERS’S OFFICE.“The project has gone through many steps. Step one was to rezone the property to meet the County’s zoning regulations. The Area Plan Commission voted 7-3 against the rezoning, with two abstentions. The rezoning request was forwarded to City Council for a final vote. The City Council reversed the Area Plan Commission’s decision and vote 6-3 in favor of the rezoning. The City Engineer’s office then began 18 months of coordination with multiple departments, reviewing options for access along Fielding Road and developing the best possible solution for safety and mobility. The best solution is to move the access for the development far away from of the Lloyd Expressway, which sees nearly 60,000 vehicles per day.The approach to Fielding Manner [sic] Drive was consolidated with the commercial drive access to maintain as few “conflict points” as possible. Also, by realigning Fielding Manner [sic] Drive, the grade of the drive will be reduced by approximately 6 percent and the drive within the right-of-way will be widened to 25-feet wide to improve safety and mobility.”There is still some hope for the homeowners. While they don’t understand how a private easement that they have taken care of for 20 years could just be handed over to a private company, a resident who lives there says she has a phone call with the Mayor of Evansville on Monday.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Evansville Police Department to Host FIRST STEP Advanced Student Threat Assessment & Intervention Response…

first_imgOn July 27th and 28th, the Evansville Police Department will host the FIRST STEP Advanced Student Threat Assessment and Intervention Response Program.  FIRST STEP gives you the skills, materials, and confidence to quickly and effectively assess, intervene, and manage a student who has made a threat of violence.This training is for Police Officers, School Resource Officer, Teachers, School Administrators, Counselors, Residential Life Coordinators as well as anyone else involved in the education and safety of students.Every student who is planning to attack a school has stepped onto The Path to Violence. When this occurs, the best way to ensure the immediate and long term safety of your school community is to guide that student off The Path to Violence and back to the person he used to be and can be again.FIRST STEP helps you to do just that–assess, intervene, and guide students back to a safe place–back to the FIRST STEP–the place they were before they began to travel down The Path to Violence.This two-day advanced professional development course gives you 12 new skills to stop a school attack, change students’ lives, as well as to increase your personal growth and enhance your professional worth.1. Implement effective and realistic techniques to save lives2. Distinguish normal from threatening behaviors3. Identify indicators of imminent or impending danger4. Assess (read) student behaviors and determine their true risk level5. Predict type & intensity of future student behaviors & calculate potential risk6. Utilize proactive and effective (included) intervention plans to lower the risk level7. Administer effective discipline after a student has made a threat of violence8. Integrate suspended and expelled students safely back into the school9. Prevent stigmatizing students and alienating parents10. Positively change the lives of students11. Enhance your quality of life and raise your school’s total climate12. Protect your school and yourself against civil liabilityFIRST STEP can be used as a stand-alone program or to supplement your existing procedures!Those who have these skills are invaluable members of their community and profession!For more INFORMATION & to REGISTER online go to or visit People are the Prize at LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Justices Affirm Evansville SWAT Drug Arrest That Split COA

first_img Dave Stafford fr www.theindianalawyer.comThe Indiana Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously affirmed drug convictions against an Evansville man who challenged a “military-style” SWAT team raid on his house that turned up cocaine, marijuana and prescription painkillers. The convictions previously were reversed in a divided opinion of the Indiana Court of Appeals that was vacated when justices granted transfer.Mario Watkins was convicted of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance as a lesser-included Class A misdemeanor, possession of cocaine as a Level 6 felony, possession of a schedule IV controlled substance as a lesser-included Class A misdemeanor, possession of marijuana as a lesser-included Class B misdemeanor, and maintaining a common nuisance as a Level 6 felony.He was charged after Evansville police acted on a tip from a longtime informant that there were drugs and a gun in Watkins’ house. Police got a search warrant, staked out and observed the house, and developed a plan to execute the warrant. They raided the house in multiple directions using a battering ram and a “flash-bang” grenade that was deployed in a room where only a nine-month-old boy was laying under a blanket in a playpen.A majority of a Court of Appeals panel found the search unreasonable under Litchfield v. State, 824 N.E.2d 356. The majority opinion written by Judge Elaine Brown held that law enforcement needs for a military-style assault in this case were low and the degree of intrusion unreasonably high.But justices aligned with the COA dissent of Judge Melissa May in affirming the trial court.“We hold that the totality-of-the-circumstances Litchfield test — a test applied hundreds of times in our courts — remains well-suited to assess reasonableness under Article 1, Section 11. See Simons v. Simons, 566 N.E.2d 551, 557 (Ind. Ct. App. 1991) (“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”). Applying that test here, we find that the search warrant execution was not unreasonable,” Chief Justice Loretta Rush wrote for the court.Under these circumstances, police noticed activity at the house consistent with drug dealing, they corroborated the informant’s tip, and they had reason to believe executing the warrant could be dangerous. The court also held that while the degree of intrusion was high, police carefully tailored their tactics.However, the court rejected the state’s argument that “the courts should not second-guess officers,” as Rush wrote in Mario Watkins v. State of Indiana, 82S01-1704-CR-191.“The Litchfield test continues to serve us well, so we decline the State’s invitation to replace it with an unprecedented ‘no reasonable officer’ test for search warrant executions,” Rush wrote. “Under the totality of the circumstances, the search warrant execution at Watkins’s house did not violate Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution. And the search warrant affidavit survives our deferential Fourth Amendment review because it provided a substantial basis for the probable cause finding. We therefore affirm the trial court.”The court also cautioned that police use of “flash-bang” grenades that have drawn rebukes from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, including a judgment against Evansville police in a prior case, could spoil an investigation.“(F) lash-bang grenades should be the exception in search warrant executions. Their extraordinary degree of intrusion will in many cases make a search constitutionally unreasonable,” Rush wrote. “And we have serious concerns about officers here setting off a flash-bang grenade when the only person in the room was a nine-month-old. Ultimately though, this search warrant execution — under Litchfield’s totality-of-the-circumstances test — did not  violate  our Constitution’s  search-and-seizure protections.”FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

New USI Study Abroad Scholarship In Honor Of Dr. Linda L. M. Bennett

first_imgIn recognition of the leadership of retiring University of Southern Indiana president Dr. Linda L. M. Bennett, the USI Foundation has announced the establishment of the Amy MacDonell and Randall Shepard Endowed Study Abroad Scholarship.MacDonell, a USI trustee from 2006 to 2018, and her husband Shepard retired Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice and long-time friend of USI, endowed the scholarship that will provide $8,500 per year in scholarships to assist students with the costs of participating in a study abroad program through USI’s Center for International Programs.“This was the right time to honor the amazing tenure of Dr. Linda Bennett and celebrate her service,” said MacDonell.  “These scholarships will reflect the spirit of Dr. Bennett, who has opened doors for students.  We are pleased to help students experience the broader world and gain a deeper understanding of their place in that world.”The USI Center for International Programs offers study abroad programs in 60 different countries in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Oceania. Programs range from faculty-led trips to a full semester and academic year programs and internships.For more information about USI’s study abroad program, visit For more information about the USI Foundation, visit LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Pence’s Empty Office

first_imgPence’s Empty OfficeBy Rob Kendall of IntoretrontOn Saturday, thousands of people from across the state flocked to Downtown Danville for the Mayberry in the Midwest Festival. This was great for Governor Mike Pence. He recently opened a campaign office on the corner where the event was taking place. As a candidate, one could not ask for better free exposure.There was only one problem…no one was at his office. Even worse, there were no signs in the storefront window. There was not one worker passing out information. No promotion at all. Nothing to identify Pence, other than his name on the door. Unless passersby looked closely, the office resembled just another attorney on the Courthouse Square.At a time where polling shows the governor in a very tight race, thousands of potential voters walked right past his door. Unfortunately, there was no one to seize the opportunity. I was broadcasting the event. I watched as other campaigns had volunteers walking the streets to promote their candidate.Mistakes in May do not necessarily make or break a campaign, but a lack of discipline and organization throughout will. Pence’s campaign no-show at his office was just that. The race to elect Indiana’s next governor will be razor thin. Unforced errors will haunt both candidates. Pence has several built-in advantages. He needs to exploit them if he is to be victorious. One is volunteers and infrastructure, which failed on Saturday.The visual of Pence’s empty office was striking. Many people commented. The fact the governor, who personally attended a grand opening for the office just a week ago (complete with a bus full of people to help celebrate), left it unattended, was inexcusable. I was at that event and interviewed Pence. There were placards and signs set up all over the office. Not only did someone remove them when he left, but did not take the effort to transfer them to the window which faces one of the town’s busiest streets. It also means there has likely been no promotion (completely free mind you) for over a week.Much of politics is about impressions. Pence’s empty office left an awful one. His campaign’s lack of presence fed a narrative many hold of the governor: A guy more about fanfare and publicity than attention to detail which produces good public policy. At the office’s opening, many staffers were on hand, hours before his arrival. Nothing was out of place. Every detail perfectly attended to. After he left, the office apparently became out of sight, out of mind.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more


first_imgWHAT ON YOUR MIND TODAY?FOOTNOTES: Our next “IS IT TRUE” will be posted on this coming WEDNESDAY ?Todays “primary election polling question is: Do you think Donal Trump will make America Great Again?TUESDAYPlease take time and read our newest feature articles entitled “HOT JOBS” and “LOCAL SPORTS” posted in our sections.If you would like to advertise in the CCO please contact us City-County [email protected] 2015 City County Observer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributedFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more


first_imgIS IT TRUE this afternoon the Evansville City Council will begin to review the 2017 proposed?  …get ready for the political games to begin?IS IT TRUE the City of Evansville is going to experience major problems concerning the 2017 budget?   …it looks like former Councilman and Finance Chairman John Friend, CPA productions concerning the 2017 is spot on?IS IT TRUE the word at the Civic Center is that the City employees are getting ready to experience big increase in their Health Insurance deductibles costs?IS IT TRUE we hear that City employees should expect higher deductibles costs that  will increase the employees out of pocket health coverage costs for 2017?IS IT TRUE  during the preliminary  2017 budget review by the Administration it was discover that the new premium for Employee Health Insurance would  had to be increased by a large amount per month ?   …the City decided to increase the deductibles costs paid by the employees in order to reduce the projected monthly premium  costs for 2017?IS IT TRUE when former Mayor Frank McDonald Jr left office he had $58 million dollars in the General Fund?IS IT TRUE when former Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel left office he had $4 million dollars in the General Fund?IS IT TRUE when former Mayor Russ lloyd Jr left office he has $232,000 in the General Fund?IS IT TRUE at the end of 2015 Mayor Winnecke had $207,000 in the General Fund?IS IT TRUE at the beginning of 2016 Mayor Winnecke got a $12.5 million dollar advancement from Tropicana to help ends meet? …the City put $6.5 million in the General Fund to help shore up deficit balances?  …we have no idea what the city did with the remaining balance of this cash advancement?IS IT TRUE that today is the last day for our current “Readers Poll”?  …it looks like City Councilman Dan McGinn is being crushed by the people voting on this 10 day “Readers Poll” question?  …so far the results of our poll question concerning the Homestead Tax Credit Resolution sponsored by Councilman Dan McGinn are: YES-79, NO-739 and NO IDEA–99?FOOTNOTE: “IS IT TRUE” will be posted next Thursday?Todays READERS POLL question is: Do you support Councilman Dan McGinn’s Homestead Tax Credit resolution that reduces the percentages of our tax credits?Please take time and read our newest feature articles entitled “ AUGUST BIRTHDAYS, HOT JOBS” and “LOCAL SPORTS” posted in our sections.If you would like to advertise in the CCO please contact us City-County [email protected] County Observer has been serving our community for 15 years.Copyright 2015 City County Observer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribute.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more


first_imgOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Congratulations to the 2016 Bears. The Bears finished in 3rd Place while competing in the JCC of Bayonne Indoor Flag Football Jr Division. From left to right are Mariam Rasslan, Coach Alex Camacho, Louai Asouti, David Matos and Amir Asouti. ×OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlast_img

An appreciation of the late Michael Coleman

first_imgThomas Newman Dear Editor: I was saddened to read in last week’s Reporter that Mike Coleman had passed away. Old time Hoboken residents will remember him as the city’s Model Cities director in the late ‘60s and ‘70s. Those were the days when it wasn’t clear if the country’s urban areas, racked with crime and decay, were going to survive as livable places.Mike was one those idealistic young people who answered JFK’s call to ask what you could do for your country, not what it could do for you. It was 1968, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated, riots ripped the ghettos of our major cities, and the Vietnam War threatened to tear apart our national political culture.There was no “brownstone revolution” in Hoboken. It was, in fact, the city’s nadir from a long economic slide that began after World War 1. Mike was Lyndon Johnson’s man from Washington to see if some federal dollars could be wisely spent to set us on the road to a Great Society.One of the most successful projects was the Home Improvement Loan Program which gave low interest loans to little owner-occupants to fix up their homes. But if I were to pick his greatest achievement it was that he kept the program free and independent from the local political patronage system for which federal money was traditionally a kind of honey pot. And much credit here goes to then-mayor Louis DePascal as well. The short story is that Hoboken did become a model city for the Model Cities program.In the ‘70s Hoboken was a national role model as a successful low-income housing provider. At the end of the decade roughly 20 percent of all housing units in the city were subsidized in one way or another. All through this transition period Mike Coleman was the Community Development director and the city’s man who steered these programs. It was his mission to see that the renaissance of Hoboken benefited the city’s long term, diverse residents.Mike was one of the good guys, a moral force in turbulent times, and for me an inspirational leader.last_img read more