[r82] Changes to our Laws - Part 2: Education (7/5/2013)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Start Date: 7/5/2013 All Day
End Date: 7/5/2013

Note to reader: This is the second part of a three part series focusing on changes to our laws from the legislative session. This week focuses on education and the final part will focus on jobs.

As summer vacation nears the halfway point, teachers will begin transforming their classrooms with new themes, updating lesson plans and replenishing their supplies all in preparation for the upcoming school year. Teachers are tasked with the incredible responsibility of preparing students to be lifelong learners and achieve success in a globally dynamic marketplace, and the knowledge they bestow can have an immense impact on their students.

Think of a particular teacher that made a difference in your life, who comes to mind? Although many left a lasting impression on me, I will never forget the positive impact that Mrs. Bitting’s instruction had on my life. A former teacher at Central Noble High School, Mrs. Bitting worked diligently to prepare her students to succeed in life. She was attentive to the individual needs of students and eagerly worked to address them. She served as a role-model in and out of the classroom, working also as a track coach, and constantly encouraged students to realize their potential.

Mrs. Bitting understood that preparing students for the future is vitally important to their success. House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1005 was a bill I supported that was drafted with the same belief in mind. This new law works to ensure that students are well-equipped to enter college or the workforce as they leave high school. Identifying the needs of students early in their high school career, particularly those struggling with Math and English, will provide personalized attention to better prepare them to succeed in next chapter of their life.

Another education reform measure I supported was Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 1. Authored in response to the recent school tragedies, this new law authorizes the state to provide $10 million in funding for schools that are considering hiring and training a school resource officer, conducting a threat assessment or investing in safety equipment. Nothing is more important than protecting Hoosier children and educators in a situation where violence might arise.

This session, I co-authored HEA 1560 which works to improve the lives of our instructors. Before this new law, teachers had to invest in a retirement plan approved by their school corporation, and if they closed contributions to a particular vender, teachers were required to roll their accrued funds into another approved plan. HEA 1560 allows teachers like Mrs. Bitting and other school employees to invest with an IRA type fund, outside the school corporation’s approved list, allowing for greater personal investment freedom to take place.

Mrs. Bitting is just one of many Hoosier teachers that are committed to the success of their students, and we need to do everything we can to recognize the important role that they play in our communities. Although Mrs. Bitting came to my mind as a teacher who inspired me to achieve, everyone has an inspiring figure in their lives. We can secure Indiana’s future by continuing to enact smart education policies, benefiting teachers and students alike.

You can find additional information on the laws I mentioned today by visiting www.in.gov/legislative, and I will wrap-up this three part series next week by focusing on new laws pertaining to jobs.

My door is always open, so please continue to let me know how I can serve you better. If you have any concerns or questions regarding these new bills, I am available via email at h82@iga.in.gov or by phone at 317-232-9643.


Rep. Ober Changes to our Laws Part 2 Education.docx