Right now, there is a one-size-fits-all approach to the Core 40 diploma. I authored House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1213, which calls for a committee to study the diplomas Indiana currently offers, make recommendations on whether those need to be updated and decide if there is a need for a Career and Technical Education diploma. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses offer training into high wage, high demand fields in Indiana. I want to promote these courses so more Hoosiers can find rewarding employment opportunities.
Another law we passed, HEA 1388, provides a useful diagnostic to help schools excel and improve. This legislation makes changes to the information a teacher preparation program must submit annually to the Department of Education and requires both school corporations and charter schools to report each teacher in the program who earned an initial license as well as the annual retention rate for certificated employees. I supported this legislation which will increase the analysis of teacher preparation programs in order to improve them.
We also provided more opportunities to help adults acquire a high school diploma. On average, adults with high school diplomas make more than $8,000 a year than adults who do not have their diplomas. HEA 1028 allows for more charter adult high schools to provide a high school education to better serve at-risk populations within our community.
Through Senate Enrolled Act 85, we were able to provide additional resources for training School Resource Officers (SROs). This law will require that a SRO be employed by a law enforcement agency and authorizes the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Boards to approve training programs. I was pleased to support this new law as it brings clarity and additional guidance to the school safety legislation passed in 2013. The safety and well-being of Hoosier students is always a top priority for me.
Providing the highest quality education is the key to future success and will help Hoosiers better compete in today’s globally dynamic marketplace. I applaud all of the schools in our area that received a four star designation: Farmersville Elementary, Marrs Elementary, North Posey Jr. High, South Terrace Elementary, Corpus Christi, Mater Dei High School, Resurrection and St. Wendel.
All of these schools are leading the charge for a better education system in Indiana and are a testament to what happens when parents, students, teachers, administrators and faculty are all working together. I am proud of the strides we made this session, and by working alongside our top-notch educators and dedicated students, Indiana is on track to having the best education system in the country.