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Several education-related bills signed into state law

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Gov. Mike Pence held a press conference Monday where he signed four education-related bills into law – just hours after he also signed legislation that ends the Common Core standards in Indiana.

“These bills help Hoosiers of all ages with tools that they need to succeed in college, the workplace, and life,” Pence said.

Indiana officially left Common Core when Pence signed Senate Enrolled Act 91, which requires the state to adopt its own academic standards. Common Core standards have been adopted by many states as the benchmarks for student achievement.

“By signing this legislation, Indiana has taken an important step forward in developing academic standards that are written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers, and are uncommonly high, and I commend members of the General Assembly for their support,” Pence said in a press release.

Later this week, Pence will sign the pre-k voucher bill that will help low-income families send their children to preschool. Pence said he believes the best enrichment comes from families before school starts for young Hoosiers, but he now knows that not all Indiana children have that chance. The bills allows for a pilot program to test out pre-k vouchers.

On Monday, the governor also signed House Enrolled Act 1064, which calls for a study on career and technical education programs. The study will be done by the Indiana Career Council and will include 157,000 students state-wide. The study must be done by Aug.1 and will look into the college and career readiness of students that participate in career and technical education programs and if those programs are used efficiently and with sensitivity to markets.

The study is designed to work with programs the state has now according to Pence.

HEA 1213 allows the Indiana Career Council to appoint a committee to make and improve standards for career and technical education. The bill also allows for a subcommittee that would recommend changes to standards.

Pence signed two adult education bills that focused on “second chance high schools” and funding for adults to update their skills.

SEA 330 creates a new performance-orientated program, which allows for adults to get the skills they need to succeed. That includes skills necessary for jobs that the Indiana Department of Workforce Development classifies as “high demand and high wage.”

“Too many workers are left behind because their skills are outdated,” Pence said.

The number of adult high schools now is uncapped, and the schools will be much more accessible to Hoosiers. The Excel Centers – the adult high schools – have repeatedly come to legislators for funding. But the new program does not provide a plan for funding for the high schools.

“Long-term funding is important for future sessions, but I am very happy we have lifted the cap,” Pence said.

According to Pence, Indiana has proven that these high schools are effective and innovative for drop-out recovery.

SEA 205 allows for charter schools to be held accountable. Charter schools are now required to submit an annual report to the State Board of Education. That report must include performance and financial information.

After five years the Board of Education can determine if a school will return to operating under its district, become a charter school, or if additional intervention is needed.

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