President Elsener Reflects on Educational Successes in Indiana

by Katie Bradley | Sep 06, 2013

As a member of the State Board of Education, President Daniel J. Elsener penned a letter highlighting the progress that has been made in Indiana education over the last five years. The following letter has been signed by 10 of the 11 members of the State Board of Education and has been distributed to daily newspapers across the state.

Indiana State Board of Education

Empowered for Change – Educational Successes in Indiana

Much attention the last five years has been given to empowering K-12 educators in Indiana; rightfully so as the consequences for the social, cultural, and economic quality of life will depend on the educational attainment of our young people. The consequences of poor education are undeniably evident in Hoosier communities where poverty is rampant and opportunity is scarce.

At recent meetings of the State Board of Education, a series of “good news” statistics were highlighted by my colleagues. The K-12 teachers and principals who ensured the achievement of these exemplary results need to be recognized for adeptly helping students experience improved learning outcomes. The State Board of Education wants to congratulate the students, parents, teachers, administrators, and policy makers for the following exceptional gains:

  • 88.4% of students graduated in 2012, which is an all-time high and a 9.4% increase since 2008;
  • 91.1% of students passed IREAD in 2013, which is an all-time high and an increase over the pass rate of 90.6% in 2012;
  • 71.5% of students passed both sections of the ISTEP+ in 2012, which is an all-time high and a 7% increase since 2008;
  • 70.6% of students passed both sections of the ECAs in 2012, which is an all-time high and a 15.3% increase since 2010;
  • 62.5% of graduates took the SAT and 27.9% took the ACT in 2012 and both are all-time highs.  What is truly REMARKABLE is while the pool of test-takers has grown substantially in Indiana – in particular on the ACT (+63.5%) – our students have essentially maintained the same lead over the nation for the percentage of graduates testing college-ready (5% more). 
  • 41% of graduates passed either an Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) or Industry Certification exam, or earned Dual Credit in 2011.  Students and teachers sailed past the expectation of 25%;
  • 32.6% of graduates’ took at least one AP exam during high school in 2012, which is an all-time high and a 12.1% increase since 2009.  This increase is HIGHEST in the United States;
  • 14.8% of graduates’ passed at least one AP exam during high school in 2012, which is an all-time high and a 4.5% increase since 2009. This increase is the FOURTH highest in the United States.

Data Source: Indiana Department of Education COMPASS data center

As we move forward in improving K-12 education in Indiana, let us continue to be courageous in constructing and implementing new policies, finding new and better ways to advance our children’s prospects for a better life. Moreover, let us be swift, loud, and convicted in our gratitude, recognition, and encouragement of the educators willing to try new ways of addressing the educational needs of our children. Change is difficult, but when the outcome is the achievement of results like that which we have attained in recent years, we know that the discomfort and challenges are worth it. There should be little doubt that the future health of the socio-economic reality of our young people, indeed the future of our society, depends on the courage and creativity of selfless, forward-thinking educators.

Together, we thank our educators for the tremendous gains they have achieved in advancing learning outcomes. And, we ask responsible people of good will to focus on championing and applauding the parents, teachers, and educational leaders willing to take a stand to empower our students, especially those most vulnerable and at risk of a life of poverty.

The evidence clearly shows we can and are being successful – let us continue to support innovative approaches to education and enable principals, teachers, and parents to achieve aspirational education goals for our children and the state of Indiana.

Empowered for Change_Education Successes Editorial

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