Every December signals the end of the year. The end of the year gives you a chance to reflect. You look back at the events of the year and think about the impact it will have in the future. 2017 was full of change and new opportunities. Before we get to 2018, let’s take a look back at education news in 2017.
1. Farwell President Barack Obama.
I want to first say I wish 2017 was still the year of 44. Barack Obama, the first African American to be elected president of the United States of America, left the White House on Friday, January 20, 2017. He left behind a legacy including the rollout of Race to the Top and the Every Student will Succeed Act (ESSA). In the eight years he served as President, he had a major impact on education. His leadership in the world of education is sorely missed.
2. Betsy DeVos selected as US Education Secretary.
Before she became Secretary, she had the infamous confirmation hearing that should have eliminated her. She set her sights on rolling back Title IX guidance on campus sexual assault and supporting for-profit colleges. She is most known for her mistakes, such as her wrong stance on HBCUs, than moving education forward for our nation.
3. McCormick’s era begins in Indiana.
After defeating then Indiana Superintendent Glenda Ritz, former Yorktown Community School Superintendent Jennifer McCormick won the election to become the State’s Education Superintendent. The last Republican to hold this office was Tony Bennett.
4. ILEARN replaces ISTEP.
Back in April, the Indiana Senate approved a bill that would make ILEARN the new standardized test of Indiana replacing the ever-controversial ISTEP exam. ILEARN will make its debut in 2019.
5. Private schools receive state dollars.
Back in April, the Indiana Governor signed a bill, which allowed private schools receive state funding for students’ tuition without the waiting period of a year that was previously intact for students who were eligible for vouchers.
6. Three Indianapolis High Schools win State Basketball Championships.
This was a great year in high school basketball. Three local Indianapolis high schools won state basketball championships. Tindley, the network I work for, won the Class A State Basketball championship. This was our first state championship in any sport in the school’s history. Crispus Attucks, the legendary school of one of the greatest players of all time Oscar Robertson, won the Class 3A championship for the first time in over 50 years. Finally, Ben Davis won the Class 4A basketball Champion. After the championship, the city held an awesome city-wide pep rally to celebrate the schools and their students.
7. A new era began in Pike Township.
2017 saw the end of an era and a beginning of another one. Superintendent Nathaniel Jones was the longest reigning Indianapolis Superintendent. He had been the Superintendent in Pike Township for 13 years. He was the superintendent when I was in high school and he was the superintendent when I landed my first job in Pike. Taking his place this year, to fill his large shoes, was Flora Reichanadter. I am excited about this new era in Pike Township, but Superintendent Nate Jones is missed.
8. 2017 ISTEP scores were released.
Another round of ISTEP scores across the state remained steady. According to state data, 51.5% of students in grades 3-8 passed both the English and math portion. This was a 2% decrease from the previous year. Scores can be found here.
9. IPS Board approved the closure of three high schools.
In a move many saw coming, the IPS Board of School Commissioners, with a 5-2 vote, voted to eliminate three high school campuses: Arlington, Broad Ripple, and Northwest. Broad Ripple will close permanently along with John Marshall Middle School and Arlington and Northwest’s campuses will be converted to middle schools beginning with the 2018-19 school year.
10. New graduation requirements are on the horizon.
In December, Indiana education officials approved a plan that included additional high school graduation requirements. The move was controversial to many. Despite Indiana State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick voting no, the final recommendations were passed 7 to 4. Under the plan, students will be required to complete additional requirements such as exams, advanced courses, or possibly complete an internship. The goal is to make students more ready for careers after graduation.