Legislation drafted by State Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange) and Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz to attract veterans to the teaching profession passed the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development by a unanimous vote.
Senate Bill 331 would create the Second Service for Veterans program, which requires each state higher educational institution to do the following:
· Provide academic and career counseling for veterans enrolled in the school of education.
· Offer in-state tuition to out-of-state veterans who apply and are accepted into the Second Service program.
· Develop scholarship opportunities for veteran students who major in education.
· Allow military training and experience to count toward an education degree when applicable.
· Create a plan to attract and recruit veterans to the school of education.
Glick said the proposed program would work in conjunction with Indiana’s Combat to College Program, which was established through legislation she authored during the General Assembly’s 2013 session. This initiative created administrative and educational assistance for veteran students, helping them successfully graduate from college and move into a career.
“Like the Combat to College program, the Second Service program recognizes that military veterans have a unique set of skills and experiences that distinguish them from traditional students,” Glick said. “Their dedication to service, attention to detail, and focus on discipline are just a few of the traits that could make them excellent teachers. With the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans significantly higher than the national average, we must do what we can to help our returning heroes put their abilities toward a college degree and a future career.”
Glick said SB 331 attracted bipartisan support from committee members, as well as from veterans organizations, the Indiana State Teachers Association and various public universities.
SB 331 now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.