Arnold: Indiana education reaches new heights

Posted by: Victoria Klimczak  | Thursday, August 10, 2017 1:28 pm

A strong education provides students with the tools they need to become college-and career-ready. Providing Hoosier students with opportunities to excel can lead to a robust workforce who is prepared to take Indiana to the next level. It is encouraging to see Indiana education making headlines for a number of positive reasons this summer, including more young Hoosiers taking challenging courses in high school and completing college.

A recent report shows that participation in dual credit courses is rising and recently hit an all-time high. Through dual credit courses, high school students can earn valuable college credit, enter college in higher level classes or receive career and technical credit while also completing graduation requirements. Now, over half of high school students take dual credit courses, which have a number of positive benefits. Students who enroll in advanced placement and dual credit classes are more likely to attend and complete college, and they are twice as likely to finish their degrees early, saving them money on their college tuition. Technical courses also provide students with valuable skills they can apply to trade schools or associate degrees.

To increase these course options for Hoosier high school students, a new law provides access to specialty classes and business or trade certification programs not provided at certain schools. Some Indiana schools lack the necessary resources to provide these opportunities because of size or location, and online options are an accessible alternative. The availability of specialty classes will open the door for more high school students to get a jump-start on their goals.

Another report from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education shows college graduation rates continue to rise throughout the state. According to the 2017 College Completion Report, there is an increase in the number of students receiving degrees and completing their education on time. The on-time graduation rates for Indiana state schools saw a growth of nearly 11 percent over a five-year period. Avoiding extra semesters saves Hoosier students time and money on classes, getting them into the workforce sooner.

The report also highlights a notable increase in completion rates for minority students as well as low-income students participating in the 21st Century Scholars program. These two groups experienced the most growth over the past few years, and the completion gap between minority students and the overall student population has nearly been cut in half.

Educational opportunities in the state continue to focus on preparing students for the workforce and promote college-and career-readiness. With more young Hoosiers taking strides in their education, it seems the future of our state will be in strong, capable hands. As summer continues, feel free to contact me with questions or comments at h74@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9793.

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State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents House District 74,

which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.

A high-resolution photo of Arnold can be downloaded by clicking here.