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Report: Indiana Department of Education rushed grades

Former IndianSuperintendent Public InstructiTony Bennett |  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy file)

Former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett | (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, file)

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Updated: October 8, 2013 6:08AM



A legislative review has found former Indiana state schools superintendent Tony Bennett changed the grade for a charter school as a matter of “quality control” amid broader problems in the development of Indiana’s “A-F” school grades.

The Indiana General Assembly’s Republican leaders appointed two analysts to review the state’s grading system. The pair released their findings Friday after spending the past month compiling the review.

They found that Bennett’s technical staff was overburdened developing the grades. They also reported widespread distrust in Bennett’s system among the education community, but say the Christel House school in Indianapolis didn’t receive special treatment.

Bennett resigned as Florida’s schools chief last month, a few days after The Associated Press published emails showing the grade changes for the school run by a Republican donor.

Senate Minority leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, said in a news release that the report “underscores the necessity of added transparency.”

“It emphasizes the need for broad input from teachers, parents and school administrators to establish a valid, accurate and fair assessment of our schools.”

Republican Gov. Mike Pence said he looks forward to working with legislative leadership and the new state superintendent of public instruction, Glenda Ritz, to create new recommendations for the State Board of Education.

Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, who serves on the Education and Career Development committee, said she had not had time to review the report.



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