Applauds Pence ed­u­ca­tion agenda

Post-Tribune - - Opinion -

Be­cause of the vi­tal role ed­u­ca­tion plays in In­di­ana’s fu­ture, the In­di­ana Cham­ber of Com­merce ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee re­cently en­dorsed Gov. Pence’s ed­u­ca­tion agenda for the 2015 leg­isla­tive ses­sion. It’s an im­por­tant step to­ward al­low­ing the stu­dents in the K-12 ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem to pros­per through high-per­form­ing teach­ers and schools.

Sev­eral of the gover­nor’s pro­pos­als clearly put Hoosier stu­dents first — in­clud­ing rais­ing the base fund­ing per pupil, de­vel­op­ing a bet­ter ap­proach to turn­ing around fail­ing schools, ex­pand­ing per­for­mance-based fund­ing and lift­ing the dollar cap for school choice.

As with any wide-rang­ing pol­icy agenda, there are ideas that the cham­ber would like to see taken fur­ther. In re­cent progress re­ports on our In­di­ana Vi­sion 2025 plan, we’ve noted that In­di­ana is mak­ing sub­stan­tial progress but is not mov­ing far enough or fast enough in some ar­eas.

Giv­ing the state board of ed­u­ca­tion author­ity to elect its chair­man would be a good step — if mak­ing the state su­per­in­ten­dent an ap­pointed po­si­tion is not ap­proved, a move that the cham­ber has ad­vo­cated for decades.

The state cham­ber also be­lieves that sim­ply re­new­ing the five-county preschool pi­lot pro­gram is not suf­fi­cient be­cause there are far too many Hoosier chil­dren en­ter­ing kinder­garten un­pre­pared to learn. In­di­ana needs to move for­ward this year to pro­vide fund­ing that will help all low-in­come fam­i­lies ac­cess ed­u­ca­tional preschool pro­grams.

Tom Eas­ter­day In­di­ana Cham­ber of Com­merce

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