Indiana News

Pence calls for shorter ISTEP+ test

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Mike Pence says he learned last week it would take double the time for some students to complete the ISTEP+ exam this year.

The governor says that’s too long and he issued an executive order demanding shorter test times, something like six hours instead of 12.

He has hired outside experts to find out how to make that possible.

Pence made that announcement in what amounts to the latest battle between the Republican governor and Democratic state School Superintendent Glenda Ritz.

Pence blamed the longer test times both on dysfunction on the State Board of Education and the Department of Education.

Glenda Ritz is in charge of both of them.

“I don’t want to make this personal,” said Pence. “But the Indiana Department of Education is completely responsible for crafting the test and conducting the test in the state of Indiana.  That is their responsibility.”

Ritz responded through spokesman Daniels Altman, who said, “Obviously we’re disappointed.  We’re disappointed to see that he’s apparently again attempting to work around the superintendent and around the Department of Education instead of with them.”

The governor is using the bully pulpit in this case, but only the Department of Education can change the ISTEP test and it’s not clear if Glenda Ritz will follow his wishes.

Meantime, the Indiana House is schedule to vote Monday on a bill to remove Ritz as chairman of the State Board of Education.