As another school year kicks off, it’s important Indiana schools and students have the necessary tools to succeed. During the 2013 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed several laws to improve education for students from kindergarten to college. Some of these include:
· Senate Enrolled Act 189: Exempts schools with proven track records of success from certain state-mandated regulations so that great teachers and schools aren’t held back by red tape.
· House Enrolled Act 1423: Requires the Indiana Department of Education to develop guidelines for schools to establish bullying prevention programs, as well as written investigation and reporting procedures.
· Senate Enrolled Act 1: Creates the Indiana Secured School Grant Fund, which provides matching grants for schools to improve security. School corporations can apply for these grants until Sept. 30.
· House Enrolled Act 1312: Allows students participating in college work study to gain valuable job experience in their areas of interest while making money for college.
· House Enrolled Act 1348: Incentivizes academic excellence and on-time college completion by increasing financial aid for students beginning college this fall. Additional financial aid will be available for freshmen who graduated with academic honors or technical honors, students in their second year or later who maintain a 3.0 GPA, and students who complete 39 credit hours in their first two years, putting them on pace to graduate early.
While I am pleased with the progress that has been made in education, I share in the concerns many Hoosiers have over the A-F grading system for schools. We must ensure the trustworthiness of any measurement that affects student advancement, teacher pay and retention, and parents' choice in schools.
The people of Indiana deserve the best from our education system, and the General Assembly, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and Gov. Pence will accept no less. That's why state leadership has called for a third party review of the A-F school grading system. This analysis is to be completed by early September, and I will keep you updated on any new developments.