Author

Casey Smith

Casey Smith

A lifelong Hoosier, Casey Smith previously reported on the Indiana Legislature for The Associated Press. Internationally, she has reported on water quality across South America. She holds a master’s degree in investigative reporting and narrative science writing from the University of California/Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. She previously earned degrees in journalism, anthropology and Spanish from Ball State University, where she now serves as an instructor of journalism.

Indiana senator eyes 2025 for “school choice” overhaul

By: - January 19, 2024

A top GOP state senator wants to completely overhaul Indiana’s private school vouchers with a grant program that would allow all Hoosier families — regardless of income — to choose where their students get educated. The proposal will not advance in the current legislative session, but discussion at the Statehouse on Thursday previewed likely legislative […]

Indiana GOP gubernatorial hopeful highlights tech, career training in education policy plan

By: - January 18, 2024

Republican gubernatorial candidate Brad Chambers maintains that Indiana’s current education system is not producing enough “well-educated Hoosiers.”  His education policy plan, released Thursday, seeks to “rethink and redesign every aspect” of how the state teaches students. That includes proposals to expand career learning opportunities to middle schoolers and better integrate digital technology in K-12 curricula. […]

Indiana literacy overhaul bill advances with concerns from education officials

By: - January 18, 2024

Indiana lawmakers are moving forward with a GOP priority bill that requires earlier interventions for students struggling with literacy despite concerns from some education experts and district officials over a provision they said would require more third graders to be held back. Senate Bill 1, authored by Sen. Linda Rogers, R-Granger, would require IREAD testing […]

More handguns in Indiana’s Statehouse? Lawmakers seek to expand carry rights

By: - January 17, 2024

Certain elected officials and their office employees could soon be allowed to carry a handgun inside the Indiana Statehouse — a right already extended to lawmakers and their staff. Senate Bill 14, which advanced Tuesday from the Senate corrections committee along party lines, stipulates that Indiana’s attorney general, secretary of state, state comptroller and treasurer […]

Indiana lawmakers seem unlikely to tackle school consolidation in 2024 session

By: - January 16, 2024

A new statewide report is fueling discussions about consolidating Indiana’s smallest school districts, but state lawmakers continue to lack an appetite for action — at least for now. For years, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has asked the General Assembly to move legislation that encourages school districts with fewer than 2,000 students to consolidate. Small […]

Senate Republicans prioritize literacy, health in five-part agenda

By: and - January 11, 2024

A bill to require earlier interventions for students struggling with literacy is top-of-list for Indiana Senate Republicans, who unveiled the 2024 agenda Thursday morning. Senate Bill 1, authored by Sen. Linda Rogers, R-Granger, would require IREAD testing to begin a year earlier, in second grade, and allow those who pass at that stage to be […]

Indiana lawmakers move forward with bills to ban antisemitism, expand workforce training funds

By: - January 11, 2024

Indiana lawmakers are fast-tracking a bill they say will ban antisemitism in public educational institutions — although critics of the proposal maintain it limits free speech and conflates anti-Jewish rhetoric with criticism of a foreign government. The legislation advanced from the House Education Committee on Wednesday in a bipartisan 12-0 vote, sending it to the full […]

Suspended license? Indiana lawmakers commit to ‘fix’ BMV insurance verification notices

By: - January 10, 2024

Hundreds of Hoosiers each year unknowingly have their licenses suspended after auto accidents — specifically for failing to respond to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ mailed requests for insurance verification. Now, Indiana lawmakers are contemplating a bill to fix what they call a “due process” flaw in the BMV communication process. Senate Bill 19, authored […]

New data tool shows where Indiana students are struggling most with literacy

By: - January 9, 2024

As debate heats up among Indiana policymakers over how to address Indiana’s literacy “crisis,” a new statewide dashboard gives a more detailed look at where additional reading supports are needed most. The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) on Tuesday released its newly-developed data visualization tool, which allows the public to view IREAD and literacy data […]

Holcomb lays out agenda focused on education and workforce

By: - January 8, 2024

In his final go, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb wants to double down on K-12 literacy initiatives and bolster workforce training but won’t seek specific policy related to growing concerns around Medicaid spending. His reading plan could result in holding thousands more third-graders back a year in school. The Republican governor on Monday unveiled his 2024 […]

Indiana teacher salaries are on the rise — but averages still fall short of governor’s goal

By: - January 8, 2024

New data shows Indiana’s teacher pay is ticking up — but still trails behind averages in neighboring states — as the debate over Hoosier educator salaries continues. The average teacher salary in Indiana is $58,531 — up from about $57,000 the year prior —  according to the 2022-23 state teacher compensation report by the Indiana […]

Students in Indiana’s smallest schools struggle as enrollment continues to decline

By: - January 5, 2024

Academic performance in the state’s smallest schools — where a fifth of Hoosier students are enrolled — significantly lags behind larger schools, according to new research. The analysis lends support to a push to consolidate at least some of the state’s rural schools and increase district sizes, despite criticism by local and statewide policymakers. A […]