State Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) has been named the 2020 Legislator of the Year by The Arc of Indiana, an organization that assists Hoosiers with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Sen. Houchin earned the award for her work on Senate Enrolled Act 346 during the 2020 Legislative Session.
SEA 346 requires the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) to provide certain accommodations to students in grades 6-12 on every section of Indiana’s standardized annual assessments, to the extent permitted under federal law, if such accommodations are included in the student’s individualized education program (IEP) or 504 plan.
This includes text-to-speech, screen reader or human reader accommodations, and calculators.
Previously, certain accommodations for students with disabilities were prohibited on portions of Indiana’s standardized tests.
“After learning students with certain disabilities were not being allowed to use all of the accommodations listed in their IEP or 504 plans during state testing, I immediately began working with parents, educators, administrators, and groups such as the Arc to solve the problem,” said Houchin.
“It is our responsibility to ensure every student has access to the tools they need to be successful and to give all students an equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge. I am grateful to all who contributed to our efforts, and I am honored to be named Legislator of the Year by The Arc of Indiana.”
“Sen. Houchin led the charge for this milestone legislation to ensure students with disabilities have a fighting chance at a level playing field on Indiana’s statewide assessments, like ILEARN,” said Hannah Carlock, director of public policy for The Arc of Indiana.
“We have been advocating for years for this issue, and Sen. Houchin finally got the ball rolling and the conversation started. We have a long way to go, but Sen. Houchin has paved the way for progress for assessments and accommodations for students with disabilities.”
SEA 346 also requires the Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE), in consultation with the Arc of Indiana and the Indiana Council of Administrators of Special Education, to consult with individuals who specialize in special education as part of the SBOE’s oversight of the development and implementation of the ILEARN test.
Additionally, SEA 346 established the Indiana Standards and Assessment Accommodation Task Force to further review the accommodations provided during the ILEARN exam and whether they are appropriate for accurately measuring a student’s learning.
The Arc of Indiana’s Legislator of the Year award goes to a legislator who has been a true champion for Hoosiers with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the previous legislative session.
The Arc of Indiana is an organization committed to all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities realizing their goals of living, learning, working and fully participating in the community.