For immediate release:
Jan. 21, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS — State Rep. Terry Goodin (D-Austin) today issued the following statement after Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law two measures (House Bill 1003 and Senate Bill 200) designed to address some of the fallout from the failed ISTEP testing program:
“We needed to pass these bills because the crisis our schools were facing was dire. At the same time, I cannot help but think we haven’t really solved the big problem here.
“While many people have said the bills will help hold schools and teachers and administrators harmless from the mess caused by ISTEP, the real people being held harmless are the Legislature and the governor. They are trying to hold themselves harmless for their complicity in helping create a system that has caused unending turmoil and heartache for thousands of schoolchildren across this state.
“Today’s actions are the logical result of years of tinkering that have basically boiled the educational process down to whether or not your child can pass a test. And not just any test, but one that has been continually plagued by computer errors, incorrect scores and delays in both taking the test and getting the score. We now see many school days revolve around preparing children to take the test, and we have succeeded in making ISTEP such a monster that our kids are haunted by it. In my job away from the Legislature, I have seen the impact: kids throwing up, kids who can’t sleep, kids who can’t eat…all because they’re worried about taking this infernal test.
“What we really need to be doing here is looking at a hold harmless for students, because they are the ones who are suffering the most.
“What we should be doing is getting rid of the primary cause of their stress: the ISTEP test itself. It has failed.
“Of course, many of the same parties who greased the skids for today’s ceremony have an interest in seeing ISTEP survive in one form or another. To get rid of the test would be to admit their vision for improving our schools was flawed to begin with, and that simply cannot happen.
“But it must happen. We have to throw out ISTEP and start over with a test that carries the input of trained educational professionals. It must include the contributions of state Superintendent Glenda Ritz, the state Department of Education, and the state Board of Education. It also should include the input of parents, teachers, administrators and, of course, students themselves.
“There will be opportunities to pursue this option in the weeks we have left in this legislative session, and I intend to pursue any means necessary to get rid of ISTEP.
“if we don’t, we will be back here again next year and the year after that and the year after that, tinkering with a system that has not worked and will not work. Today’s ceremony will not end this mess, no matter how much the governor and the legislators who created this problem might wish it.”