It’s a new year, and with it comes a new crop of educational bills in the state legislature. Recently our local paper, wrote an editorial against school voucher programs. Embedded in article were a summary of a few of the new bills. I picked a few of the more interesting ones to discuss today:
(For those of you who forgot your HS government class, HB stands for “House Bill” and SB stands for “Senate Bill.” The number after is simply the proposal number. Bills are numbered in sequential order as they are submitted.)
Expanded authority of the state to establish charter schools. Currently only major cities and universities have the authority to establish charter schools. For Indiana that specifically means the city of Indianapolis, Ball State University, Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp. and Lafayette School Corp. No other entity has gotten into the charter school process. Indiana has about 50 charter schools in existence. Fort Wayne holds two of those charters, managed by Imagine Schools. My friend works at one of the charter schools and she likes it. It’s nothing amazing, but it’s something different from the traditional public school model. I don’t think charters are the answer to all our school problems, but they are an option. I really don’t have a problem with expanded the charter school system. It’s an option…
Proposed school voucher program including private schools. Read my thoughts about the School Voucher Debacle.
Students could graduate high schools in three years and use their state tuition and apply to secondary schooling. I like this idea. Who decided that students must be in a high school setting for four years? Many students need four years to get their basic education and mature as a young adult. Some other students don’t need that time. At my old school, students routinely graduated early. They finished all their credits and either took college classes or outright graduated a semester or two early. I enjoyed my four years of high school, but that’s not to say they everything needs that. Some students should be advanced and continue on to college early. As for the money issue, the state is already giving money for college for students. Why not not? It’s a shifting of funds, but probably would not be a huge amount. I imagine that most high school students would still stay in the building for four years. This proposal would only affect a small part of the general population.
Would restrict collective bargaining authority for teachers. Overall I don’t quite get this whole teacher union thing. I believe that unions had their time and place in American society. However, presently we need to reexamine their need and purpose in our educational system. Are they a necessary tool in our box? I’m not quite sure what the alternative is, but I know that a change is needed. This bill may or may not make a difference. I’m very ambivalent on this one. I’ll have to follow the debate on this a bit more to get a better idea of my opinion.
Any other bills out there catching people’s attention? It’s a busy legislative season…