Our children’s education is very important for their well-being and success, as well as the future economic success of our state and country. By 2018, 55 percent of Indiana’s jobs will require a postsecondary education; and currently, only 33 percent of Hoosiers hold at least a two-year college degree. Because education is so important to securing our children’s future, the Select Commission on Education, made up of both House and Senate members, works every summer to delve deeper into the policies affecting education and how we can best serve Hoosier students.
Every Hoosier deserves a first class education that better positions them for the global dynamics of the 21st century workforce. In that light, having Hoosier students attend failing schools is unacceptable and requires swift action to improve the situation. The state has intervened at seven public schools where operations have been turned over to a turnaround school operator for expert assistance. These schools are in urban areas near Indianapolis and Gary, and they represent the bottom .5 percent of schools in the state.
The commission is currently working to find solutions to improve the transition period allowed for schools once it is handed over to a turnaround school operator or lead partner. The transition can be complicated for many reasons, but they will work to develop plans that will make those transitions easier for these schools.
Another initiative that the Department of Education has begun in order to address the growing need of employers seeking workers with post-secondary degrees is the Indiana College and Career Pathways. The goal of the program is to help give high school students a better idea of what courses they would need to take to enter a certain field.
By clearly outlining the path towards certain careers and the high wage potential that they offer, students can make well-informed career decisions and have access to the necessary courses. There are 11 clusters, or industry focuses, under which each pathway falls. The clusters are Agriculture; Architecture and Construction; Arts, AV Technology, and Communication; Business and Marketing; Education and Training; Health Science; Human Services; Information Technology; Manufacturing; Public Safety; and Transportation. This should also help drive economic growth in Indiana, especially for those technical career fields that have significant labor shortages.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at H63@in.gov or by phone at 317-232-9671.