The members of a so-called blue ribbon panel to make recommendations on the future of the IU School of Education have been chosen. IU President Michael McRobbie announced his intention to establish the panel last year in the wake of declining enrollment in the school. The members of the panel are Carole Ames, former dean and professor emerita at the College of Education at Michigan State University; David Harris, who oversaw the establishment of the Indianapolis charter school system; Diana Hess, senior vice president of an academic research funding organization and professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Alex Molnar, research professor and publications director of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder; and Wendy Robinson, superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools. Two members of the five member panel, including the chair, were chosen in consultation with the IU school of education. Gerardo Gonzalez, Dean of the School, says he is pleased with the composition of the panel.
Following McRobbie’s announcement of his intent to appoint the panel, the school of education asked faculty to be consulted on the committee and its membership. McRobbie’s office then asked the school to submit a list of six nominees for two slots. The decline in enrollment in the IU school of education came in the wake of changes to the state’s Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability, known as REPA (“REP-uh”). The changes now make it legal for people without education degrees to teach and administer in public schools.
Gonzales says that in Indiana, teachers’ salaries have been reduced by ten percent over the last decade, the second largest decline among the 50 states. He also says the panel will begin meeting before the end of this semester and report to President McRobbie before the end of the summer. In the meantime, faculty and administrators in the Bloomington school are preparing submissions and recommendations for the panel. Coincidentally, U.S. News and World Report recently ranked the IU School of Education 25th highest in the nation and 15th among public universities. Three of the School’s specialties – higher education administration, curriculum instruction, and elementary teacher education – ranked among the top 10. Gonzalez will be retiring from his fifteen year long term as Dean of the School of Education this year.