Senate Committee puts through School Voucher and ISTEP Bills

State Representative Bob Behning wants to change voucher options and wants a new state test by 2019.






A Senate panel has approved a bill that has been knocked by critics as reducing accountability for Indiana voucher schools.

Republican state Rep. Robert Behning’s bill allows failing private schools to make an appeal to the state school board for a delay in consequences. It also creates a way for private schools to begin accepting voucher students in their first year.

He says the appeal gives voucher schools flexibility.

Indiana’s voucher program allows parents to use public money to send children to non-public schools. It is one of the largest in the United States.

Public school supporters argue giving a failing voucher school a reprieve conflicts with the original purpose of the program.

The Senate committee approved the bill, 7-to-4, Wednesday, sending it to the full Senate.


An Indiana Senate education committee has advanced a bill setting parameters for a new state test that will replace the ISTEP exam.

The measure approved Wednesday on a 7 to 4 vote now goes to the full Senate.

The bill by Rep. Bob Behning mandates that a new test, to be called ILEARN, be in place by 2019.

But critics note the state has not yet picked a test. And they worry that the tight timeline and uncertainty could lead to the same circumstances that prompted lawmakers to ditch the ISTEP.

The ISTEP became politically charged issue after Republicans undertook a number of education overhauls in recent years.

Indiana students performed poorly on one recent version of the test that was not only more difficult, but also plagued by administrative glitches.