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Lake Central superintendent voices concern with proposed legislation

Lake Central School Superintendent Dr. Larry Veracco discusses HEA 1608, during the Sept. 18 school board meeting.
screenshot from Lake Central School Corp. YouTube video
Lake Central School Superintendent Dr. Larry Veracco discusses HEA 1608, during the Sept. 18 school board meeting.

A local school superintendent wants districts to have flexibility when it comes to deciding whether to hold students back.

Senate Bill 1 aims to improve low reading scores by, among other things, retaining most third graders who fail the IREAD-3. Lake Central Superintendent Dr. Larry Veracco says he wants more leeway for students who come close to passing, have made significant improvement or are English language learners.

"Retention based solely on a one-day test can be unfair to some children, and so we want to be cognizant of that," Veracco told the Lake Central School Board last week.

He wants lawmakers to take a closer look at how similar measures have fared in other states.

Veracco also took aim at a provision in House Bill 1073 that would put cameras in some special education classrooms, as well as seclusion and time-out areas. "It is offensive to think that, all of a sudden, they're going to uncover a lot of things happening that shouldn't be to our students," Veracco said. "They're precious, and we treat them as such."

The legislation came after an investigation showed that some schools weren't accurately reporting how often they restrained and isolated students.

Still, Lake Central School Board member Dr. Janice Malchow felt it would be a reversal from previous laws that discouraged recording in the classroom, due to parents' concerns about children's privacy. "That was like a big no, so why they would want cameras in the classroom — I mean, it just doesn't make any sense," Malchow said.

Veracco was skeptical that teachers would be as open to having their classrooms recorded as lawmakers claimed.

He said Lake County superintendents were scheduled to meet with area lawmakers last Friday.