School FAQs

Q Is Indiana the only state facing a teacher shortage?

Indiana is not the only state facing a teacher shortage. It is a national and global issue.

A simple Google search for “teacher shortage” will return stories in Iowa, Hawaii, Missouri, Kansas, California, Arizona, and many other states, including Indiana.
Education Journal reported in May 2015 that Great Britain is projected to have a shortage of qualified teachers impacting 100,000 students in the fall of 2016.
It is simplistic to suggest education reform efforts in Indiana or actions by state leaders are driving young people away from the teaching profession.

According to Education WeekCalifornia, a pro-union/anti-reform state, enrollment in teacher preparation programs dropped by more than 55 percent from 2008 to 2012.
Education Week also reported that New York, a pro-union/non-reform state, saw a drop of over 12,000 in enrollments in teacher prep programs from 2008 to 2012.
Florida, a pro-reform state, had an insignificant drop of 1,000 in enrollments in teacher prep programs from 2008 to 2012 according to Education Week.
Indiana’s teaching profession has remained fairly stable in recent years.

Indiana had nearly identical number of teachers in the fall of 2012 (59,863) compared to fall of 2000 (59,226).
According to data provided by the Indiana Department of Education to the federal government and Indianapolis Star, and is being widely reported, the number of first-time teacher licenses has dropped nearly 18.5% between 2009 and 2014, but that number only drops 6% if you compare 2008 to 2014.
There are many potential reasons for the national and global teacher shortage.

According to the Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS), the average number of teacher retirements in Indiana more than doubled in recent years. Is it due to baby boomers retiring, early retirement incentives, other reasons, or some/all of the above?
o   Average retirements per year 1990-2009 = 1,631
o   Average retirements per year 2010-2015 = 4,169
Is the teaching profession a victim of its own negative messaging?

Education Week published a historical look at teachers discouraging students from entering the profession that goes back decades.
Do we actually have a teacher shortage or merely a shortage of teachers in specific subject areas?

Ball State economist, Dr. Michael Hicks, published a report in July that showed employment growth (in some cases double-digit growth) in the number of teachers from 2013 to 2014.
What national media outlets are saying about the teacher shortage
·         National Public Radio – Teacher Shortage? Or Teacher Pipeline Problem?
·         New York Times – “Teacher Shortages Spur a Nationwide Hiring Scramble
·         Education Week – “Is There a Teacher Shortage? It Depends How You Frame It
·         PBS Newshour – “Is the Teaching Profession Going Backwards?


Q How is my school's letter grade determined?

Elementary school letter grades are determined based on individual student performance and growth on ISTEP+.  High school letter grades are determined based on performance and improvement on Math and English End of Course Assessments (ECA), graduation rate, and measures of college and career readiness. 

For more information:

Q What laws are in place to help struggling schools?

IC 21-31-9-3 requires and expert team to evaluate and assist schools that have received their fourth consecutive F. The expert team is required to make recommendations as to how the school can improve. Additionally, schools are also allowed to request the SBOE to intervene and provide assistance as early as the second consecutive year a school receives an F. Struggling schools also have opportunities to access additional state and federal funds. 

The Indiana General Assembly also passed legislation in 2014 (and expanded it in 2015 – HEA 1009) creating the Innovation Network School Model which allows schools more flexibility to implement unique and innovative local solutions to improve student learning. See IC 20-25.7 

Education Policy

Q What is REPA?

The Rules for Education Preparation and Accountability (REPA) are the rules promulgated by the State Board of Education that establish how K-12 teachers in Indiana can become licensed. REPA was first created in 2010 after the responsibility for licensure rules was moved from the Professional Standards Board to the State Board of Education.

 For more information:

Q Who determines education policy in our state?

Indiana’s Constitution (Article 8, Section 8) and existing state law (IC 20-19-2-14) provide that the General Assembly and the State Board of Education are responsible for setting education policy in the state. By law (IC 20-19-3-4), the Department of Education is required to implement those policies.

Q What is Indiana's federal waiver?

In 2011, the US Department of Education decided to provide states the opportunity to apply for flexibility under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.  If states could prove a rigorous level of state accountability, the feds would grant a waiver that exempted local schools from NCLB requirements like Adequate Yearly Progress, while also providing schools with flexibility when utilizing federal Title I dollars.  Indiana was one of the first states to receive a waiver in February 2012 and recently received an extension of its waiver in August 2014.    

 For more information:

Tax Credit Scholarship

Q How does a school partner with a Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO)?

To be deemed eligible to participate in the Tax Credit Scholarship Program, your school must meet the following criteria: 

  • Non-public schools must be accredited by a national, state, or regional accreditation organization approved by the Indiana Department of Education. To see a list of approved accrediting organizations, click here.

  • The school must administer annual standardized tests, such as the ISTEP+ or another nationally-recognized, norm-referenced standardized test.

  • Schools cannot accept students from an SGO that is administered by a relative of a school employee or board member.

To review the official rules from the Indiana Department of Education and apply to participate, please click here.

Interested in partnering with an SGO? Visit: 

Q What if a student receiving a tax credit scholarship leaves our school?

Scholarships would follow the child if they moved to another participating school. 

Q Can donors direct their funds to provide scholarships for certain families/children?

No, funds cannot be designated to specific children. However, funds can be designated to a specific school.