INDIANAPOLIS–In the wake of the release of preliminary ISTEP scores, State Senator Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) released the following statement once again offering his proposal to hold educators harmless from the legislative changes made to this year’s school accountability assessments. 

“The release of these preliminary ISTEP scores for Indiana’s K-12 schools further highlights the need to hold our students, teachers and communities harmless from this botched system of testing.

“A first look at the results from ISTEP tests last spring indicate that as many as 36 percent of our schools, more than 1 out of every 3, will be classified as D or F schools.

“This is the first assessment of the new academic standards imposed upon our students, teachers and schools by Statehouse Republicans, and they’re not working.

“Because of the shell-game style change in standards, as well as serious technical issues with ISTEP itself, the Superintendent of Public Instruction has long advocated for a hold-harmless solution to this problem.

“I offered a comprehensive fix on Organization Day to do just that; unfortunately Statehouse leadership again showed a complete lack of regard for the situation we have imposed on schools and the students themselves.

“Because of the lack of political will on the part of the Legislature to act quickly, teachers pay has been jeopardized and good schools will be labeled as failures.

“Our students, our teachers and our communities are more than just test scores.

“The Senate Democratic Caucus has set out a clear and comprehensive plan of action to address this legislature-imposed debacle.

“If we want to protect the reputation of our schools, teachers and communities, our first action in January must be to hold schools and educators harmless for this flawed ISTEP process.

“School superintendents, teachers, parents, and students are counting on us to have their backs. The question is: does the Republican leadership have their backs, or will they continue to stand silent on remedying this situation?”

Sen. Stoops represents Indiana Senate District 40, which includes portions of Monroe County, including the City of Bloomington. For more information on Sen. Stoops, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit