Education is always a top priority for the Indiana General Assembly, with more than half of the state’s General Fund dedicated to K-12 education. In fact, Indiana is ranked second in the nation for the percentage of total state funding dedicated to education, according to the Census Bureau.
This year during the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers passed another budget that demonstrates our commitment to education. House Enrolled Act 1001, Indiana’s state budget, increases K-12 tuition support by $345 million over the next two years, totaling $14.2 billion appropriated to K-12 funding over the biennium. HEA 1001 also works to reward teachers in Indiana by allocating $30 million for teacher appreciation grants for effective and highly effective teachers.
To address Indiana’s problem-plagued ISTEP exam, House Enrolled Act 1003 creates a new test starting in 2019. It will be administered once at the end of the school year, and the total testing time will be shorter.
Recognizing the diversity of workforce and education options as students approach graduation, HEA 1003, once implemented, will encourage Hoosiers to obtain a high school diploma by requiring the State Board of Education, along with the Commission for Higher Education and the Department of Workforce Development, to create multiple pathways for students to graduate from high school. This could include college entrance exams, industry certificates and/or military entrance tests.
As a way to help prepare students for the workforce, Senate Enrolled Act 198 increases funding for high school Career and Technical Education courses in high-wage, high-demand job fields and creates the Indiana Career Explorer program to help eighth-grade students identify career interests, explore related jobs and learn about required education and training. The program is beginning this year as a pilot program in 16 schools before expanding to all Indiana public schools.
Each of these bills will work to positively impact Indiana’s education system. All Hoosiers deserve the opportunity to obtain a quality education, and I will continue to support legislation that sets our students, teachers and schools up for success.
As always, I welcome your input on this topic or others. My office can be reached by phone at 800-382-9467 or by email at Senator.Long@iga.in.gov.
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