The position at United Way of Central Indiana had been vacant because of budget issues.
Indiana's top school official says more students are graduating high school and many schools have closed the achievement
gap between white students and their black peers despite lean funding.
Consider these alarming statistics: More than 6,700 Marion County students drop out of school every single year. Dropouts
earn $9,200 less per year than high school graduates, and earn $1 million less over a lifetime than college graduates.
After the 2008-2009 school year—the first of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce’s four-year Common Goal program, the overall
graduation rate among public schools in Marion County had jumped from 69 percent to almost 74 percent.
Just over half of students at state-supported, four-year institutions in Indiana graduate within six years—a tremendous
waste of resources by both students and taxpayers. The number of citizens with bachelor’s degrees is one of the surest
indicators of economic success in a 21st century economy driven less by workers’ hands
and more by their heads.
Teresa Lubbers became Indiana commissioner for higher education on July 7 after serving 17 years as a Republican state
senator from Indianapolis. She says every Hoosier needs some college-level training. Lubbers got a running start on her new
job, having served as chairwoman of the senate education committee
for years. She also worked frequently at the commission’s downtown offices during May and June—after her predecessor
left but before the Legislature returned for a special session to pass a budget. Her new staff dubbed her SenComm.
There’s reason to believe serious progress is coming, due to the people in leadership positions for the state in three key
areas: the Department of Education, the Commission for Higher Education and Ivy Tech Community College.
Tony Bennett, Indiana’s new superintendent of public instruction, says his priorities include restoring discipline to the
classroom, recruiting topnotch teachers and adequately compensating
them, increasing the percentage of education dollars spent directly on instruction, and reducing regulations so schools can
focus more on student instruction.
Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Eugene White, in his third year as head of the state’s
largest school district, is determined to reverse the long decline of the state’s largest school district. The status quo
is not an option.
Ivy Tech Community College–charged with cranking out workers to fill high-demand jobs in critical occupations–has an output
rate reminiscent of an old, state-owned Soviet assembly line. Incoming President Thomas Snyder is taking over a community
college system that graduates only 12 percent of its students within three years.