Gutwein: New laws supporting students, schools now in effect

Posted by: Jessica Bruder  | Wednesday, August 15, 2018

STATEHOUSE (Aug. 15, 2018) — With students and educators heading back to the classroom, State Rep. Douglas Gutwein (R-Francesville) said many new laws impact local school districts.

One new law ensures all K-12 public schools offer computer science classes. According to Gutwein, these skills are in high demand and critical to filling current and future job openings. The Next Level Computer Science Grant Program will help local schools train teachers to instruct the courses.

“In the coming years, every K-12 public school will offer courses on computer science,” Gutwein said. “With Indiana’s tech industries on the rise, we want to do all we can to provide students with the tools they need to be successful in these high-demand careers.”

Gutwein said these new education laws better ensure students, educators and schools have the tools and resources needed to be successful: 

  • Improving Employability Skills – A new law ensures schools include courses on employability skills or soft skills, like following directions and showing up on time, to help better prepare students for the workforce. Strengthening time management and problem-solving skills will make students more employable and prepared for life after high school. (Senate Enrolled Act 297)

  • Protecting Student Athletes – A new law establishes a certified coaching education course on how to prevent and respond to heat-related medical issues. School and intramural sports coaches for students in grades 5-12 will undergo training to recognize, prevent and respond to signs of heat exhaustion. (House Enrolled Act 1024)

  • Preventing Suicide Deaths – A new law works to decrease suicide rates by updating awareness programs for educators, health care providers and emergency medical technicians. Already required to receive at least two hours of training on suicide awareness and prevention, this law specifies this annual training must be recommended by the Indiana Suicide Prevention Network Advisory Council. (SEA 230)

  • Supporting Foster Youth – A new law tasks the Department of Education, the Department of Child Services and the State Board of Education with preparing an annual report on the educational outcomes of students in foster care. Nationally, 56 percent of children in foster care graduate from high school, and only 3 percent graduate from college. The state is working to develop tools to help foster care students succeed. (HEA 1314)

  • Prioritizing STEM Education – A new law creates an optional elementary school teacher content area license, aiming to build a stronger math and science foundation in elementary school students. Educators with a passion to teach STEM subjects will be able to actively engage young students and prepare them for high-level courses in their academic careers. (HEA 1399)

Visit iga.in.gov to learn more about these and other state laws that recently went into effect.

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State Rep. Douglas Gutwein (R-Francesville) represents House District 16, which includes all of
Pulaski County and portions of Fulton, Jasper, Newton and Starke counties.

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