Pence education agenda would push state ahead

Keywords Opinion

Because of the vital role education plays in Indiana’s future, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee recently voted to endorse Gov. Pence’s education agenda for the 2015 legislative session.

The agenda represents an important step toward increasing the focus of Indiana’s K-12 education system on our state’s young people and allowing them 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 we would like to see taken even further. In recent progress reports on our Indiana Vision 2025 plan, we have noted that Indiana is making substantial progress, but we are not moving far enough or fast enough in some areas.

Giving the State Board of Education authority to elect its own chair would be a good step, if making the state superintendent an appointed position is not enacted—as the chamber has advocated for decades. Indiana’s children deserve a State Board of Education that will function more smoothly and stay on task.

The chamber also believes that simply renewing the five-county preschool pilot program is not sufficient; 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, chairman, Indiana Chamber of Commerce

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