The state has fluctuated between clocking in just a few points above the national average to more significant test results, he noted. Those numbers have varied greatly since 2000, when Indiana was run by Democratic Gov. Frank O’Bannon and Republican schools Superintendent SueEllen Reed, who opposed most of Daniels’ education polices through his first four years in office.
“Indiana is consistently above the national average, but not at the level of the highest-performing states,” Kloosterman said in a statement. “These trends have held throughout all the state and national education policy changes over this period.”
Claiming victory, seemingly regardless of outcomes, is old hat for both Democrats and Republicans, especially in the early days of a new policy while the public is still assessing its merits. It’s also equally hard for most leaders to publicly acknowledge the latter half of Kennedy’s comment. (It took President Barack Obama weeks to apologize for widespread problems with the federal health exchange, even as the spectacle of the government shutdown drew public attention away from the problems.)
Jeff Butts, superintendent of Wayne Township Schools in Indianapolis, urged some moderation from all sides when asked about the reaction to the scores.
“Indiana teachers are the finest educators and people I have ever known. Their work with students and partnerships with families are what makes the difference,” Butts said. “That being said, let us not forget this is one examination and one data point that we are able to use to determine if what we are doing is working.”
Tom LoBianco covers Indiana politics for The Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/tomlobianco.