Letters: Spend surplus on K-12, higher education

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Last week, CNBC released its annual report on “America’s Top States for Business.” Using seven categories, Indiana came in overall at No. 14. But in one, the Hoosier state stood out in 48th place: workforce quality. That’s right, only two states are worse than Indiana (Missouri and Vermont). Kentucky, of all places, came in at No. 17 in workforce quality.

So, when it comes to spending money to better prepare Indiana’s next generation for high-paying jobs, there’s no better place to do that in secondary and post-secondary public education [“Indiana finishes fiscal year with more than $6 billion in reserves,” IBJ.com, July 15]. For starters, Indiana should amend the decades-old law that requires students to attend high school only through age 16. Every student should now be required to attend school until they graduate. No exceptions.

Then, Indiana should offer the first year of community college at no cost to every high school graduate, regardless of their graduating GPA, and the second year at no additional cost for students who achieved a 2.5 GPA in their first year.

Finally, every high school and community college should revise their curriculum to include STEM and business courses.

Using some of the billions in surplus revenue to jump-start these initiatives will go a long way to not only improving the prosperity of future generations of Hoosiers but of the state of Indiana as well.

– Brent Bahler

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