[R31] Preparing Hoosiers for the workforce (2/7/2013)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Start Date: 2/7/2013 Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 2/7/2013 End Time: 11:59 PM

Over the past month, the General Assembly has been hard at work finding ways to improve the lives of Hoosiers. A strong state begins with a skilled workforce. By continuing to prioritize education, we can create a workforce that is able to meet the high demands of a globally dynamic marketplace. 

Despite the fact that Indiana continues to have one of the most job-friendly business environments in the country, recent high school graduates are still facing obstacles. More than 10,000 students who graduated in 2012 required remediation prior to beginning traditional post-secondary classes. Students are not receiving the preparation they need to successfully transition into college courses right out of high school.

The need for remedial classes results in additional financial costs for students and often delays their entrance into the workforce. Many states, including Maine and Mississippi, are exploring the question of whether or not students should be held financially responsible for these classes. In fact, some believe the public school districts should bear the brunt of these costs.

Here in Indiana, we have come up with our own approach to solving this problem. House Bill 1005, which passed the House on Thursday, would require high schools to provide a college and career readiness assessment, paid for by the Department of Education, to students who are on a path that requires remediation prior to enrolling in post-secondary courses. This assessment would be given at the beginning of their junior year and would allow time for targeted instruction before the students leaves high school. Possible indicators that this assessment is necessary include failure to pass end of course assessments as well as scores on the PSAT, SAT or ACT.

The bill also aims to improve standards for dual credit courses. Dual credit courses are taught in the high school but can transfer as college credit. Currently, students do not have to take or pass a test demonstrating proficiency and some students end up repeating the courses based on college placement exams. HB 1005 would require a student taking dual credits to receive a C or higher in the course in order to obtain college credit. Any of the abovementioned students who are required to take a college and career readiness assessment would not be permitted to enroll in dual credits until they receive a passing score on the assessment. 

Lastly, HB 1005 would reduce the graduation waiver rate. Any student who receives a general diploma waiver would not be able to receive state financial aid until they pass the college and career readiness assessment. The secondary school official must also conclude that the student does not need additional remediation or instruction. Adult education programs would be available for those who still obtain a waiver. 

I believe this bill takes the right steps towards holding high schools accountable and alleviating the lack of curriculum alignment between high schools and colleges. If we want a consistently thriving economy, we must address the problems that arise when students are not performing at the appropriate education level. Our students must be prepared for life after high school.  

I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Indiana. As your State Representative, it is important for me to hear your views and concerns on this issue as well as any other issues facing our state. Feel free to contact me by phone at 317-232-9509 or by email at h31@in.gov.