Candidates for Indiana governor spar over ISTEP in first debate - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Candidates for Indiana governor spar over ISTEP in first debate

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The candidates for Indiana Governor squared off in their first debate Tuesday -- and replacing the state's standardized test, the ISTEP, was a hot topic.

The focus of this entire debate was centered around education. In fact, the debate was held at an Indianapolis high school with students asking a lot of the questions.

This is the first formal debate where we've seen the candidates for governor all on the same stage: Democrat John Gregg, Republican Eric Holcomb and Libertarian Rex Bell. 

One of these candidates will replace Republican Governor Mike Pence, as Pence is currently running for Vice President alongside Donald Trump.

Last March, Indiana lawmakers passed a bill to do away with the controversial ISTEP exam, which had been criticized for its length and computer glitches, among other problems.

The candidates were asked what should replace it.

"I'm all for accountability, but I think you need a better way where you take the test and get feedback much quicker," said Gregg. 

"What we would like to see happen is what is happening now: the local schools are developing their own way of determining the test," Bell said.

"Absolutely we need to be testing, we need to monitor progress and the ISTEP -- it will move aside and we'll replace it with something that's much more efficient with quicker return," Holcomb said.

The candidates were also asked about Indiana's teacher shortage. Democratic candidate Gregg blamed Republican-backed school initiatives for the shortage, while Republican Holcomb says Indiana isn't alone in the struggle to attract teachers.

Two more debates are scheduled for the candidates. The next, on Oct. 3, will focus on jobs and the economy.

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