As the end of the summer approaches, Hoosier students and teachers across the state are back in the classroom for the start of another school year.
At the Statehouse, the Indiana General Assembly’s summer study committees are well underway and several of the topics being examined focus on supporting Indiana’s schools. These include school safety initiatives, maximizing classroom learning opportunities and preparing students for the next step after K-12 education.
Unfortunately, sexual misconduct in schools has become an alarming concern across the country. Too many dangerous individuals are slipping through the cracks and being hired by school corporations.
To address this problem, the Indiana General Assembly passed House Enrolled Act 1005 this year to expand background checks for school staff and prevent schools from covering up employee misconduct.
The bill also called for a study committee to further examine ways to reduce sexual misconduct in schools. The committee finished its second meeting recently and heard from stakeholders who were able to provide feedback and suggestions to ensure we are taking proper precautions to keep our kids safe.
Another education topic being addressed is the ISTEP test, which has been plagued with a number of serious problems that have caused frustrations for students, teachers and families. Lawmakers listened to Hoosier parents and educators who voiced their concerns about Indiana’s standardized test in recent years by passing House Enrolled Act 1395.
HEA 1395 eliminates the use of the ISTEP test for future school years and created a panel of experts and educators to establish the framework for a shorter, smoother statewide test that objectively measures student performance without taking away quality classroom learning opportunities.
Indiana has also made an effort to provide income-eligible college students with work-study opportunities to help prepare them for the workforce. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the Indiana INTERNnet recently announced changes to the state’s work-study program, EARN Indiana.
With these changes, the program increased its income eligibility threshold to include more students and expanded the program to include returning adult students.
These and other education issues will remain top priorities for lawmakers as we head into the fall months and prepare for the next legislative session.
I hope that all Hoosier students, parents and teachers have a successful and enjoyable school year.
As always, I welcome your thoughts on the issues facing our state. You can contact my office by email at Senator.Long@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.
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