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Suit Filed Over Nosy Exams

INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- Four State Legislators and two parents' organizations have brought suit against the Indiana Department of Education. The litigation asks the court to enjoin the giving of the 1STEP test in the current school year until the court can determine if the modified 1STEP examination has been drafted to include objectionable essay questions from the IPASS test. The 1995 session of the General Assembly voted to deny funding for IPASS.

The suit was filed by State Representatives John J. Becker, James R. Buck, David L. Lohr and Jon R. Padfield (three of whom are members of the House Education Committee), along with Taxpayers Involved in Education Inc. and Our Kids Association.

The attorney bringing the suit, John R. Price, told reporters that "this suit is an effort to make government comply with the law and produce public records which the Department refuses to release. It also asks the Court to prohibit the giving of psychological questions which intrude into the students' personal, political, social or religious beliefs or practices. The law prohibits these kinds of intrusive surveys, and we're asking the Court to enforce the law."

Ramona Mays, president of Taxpayers Involved in Education Inc., said "the majority of members of the legislature voted to cut off funds for IPASS because they were worried about intrusive, subjective essay questions. It now appears that the Department intends to give 1STEP as a warmed-over version of IPASS. That would circumvent the law and the intent of the legislature.

The suit also asks the Marion County Court to order the release of results, by school, of the IPASS "pilot program" exams given last November. The Department has refused to release the results, leading many to question the showing on the exam by Indiana 2000 and "restructured learning" schools. The suit demands access to public records relating to the preparation and implementation of IPASS.

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