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2021 Legislative Priorities

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Workforce and Education

WORKFORCE

Veteran Re-entry: Increase employment opportunities for returning veterans by eliminating duplicative requirements and expedite processes for military-trained personnel to obtain the equivalent civilian license

Support ongoing efforts to recruit military personnel to the state to meet the workforce needs of regional employers

Ex-Offender Re-entry: Support policies that promote reintegrating ex-offenders into the workforce and economy by:

  • Minimizing business liability and increasing incentives to hire ex-offenders
  • Increasing job training and skills enhancement opportunities

    • Expanding pre-release entrepreneurship education and training
    • Support funding for proven models for transitional employment and wrap-around services including access to housing and transportation

Social Determinants of Health: Increase strategic investments in public health, prevention, and social determinants to support talent-based economic development. Continue data collection efforts by the state on social determinants of health and unmet needs of government benefit recipients

HIGHER EDUCATION

Reverse Credit: Support permitting specific course credit to be transferable and reciprocal between Indiana’s accredited two-year schools and other state-supported colleges and universities to encourage post-secondary certification and degree attainment statewide

21st Century Scholars: Enhance outreach and wraparound services and evaluate sustainable funding mechanisms for programs, such as the 21st Century Scholars program, in order to increase access to and completion rates at two- and four-year colleges and universities for those with financial need

EDUCATION

Teacher Training: Work with school system leaders to require and fund all teachers in the state of Indiana to complete cultural competency and implicit bias training, without creating additional burdens or unfunded mandates 

Achievement Gap & Disciplinary Policies: Support comprehensive, ongoing review of racial achievement gap and disciplinary policies resulting in inequitable outcomes

Early Childhood Education: Ensure children entering primary (K-12) education are academically, socially and emotionally prepared for success through high-quality, publicly-funded Pre-K programs; increased public investments should focus on those in financial need and support statewide access, while protecting funding and service levels in high-demand, high-capacity ‘pilot’ counties. Further, enact mandatory, fully-funded, full-day kindergarten by age 5 to create a consistent, quality early education pathway

School Safety & Mental Health: Allow public school funding for school resource officers and school safety referenda funding to be used to hire mental health program staff

STEM: Support dedicated funding and policies to deploy high-quality classroom science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curricula and STEM-focused professional development for the educators. Specifically, emphasize access to computer science and engineering courses at the K-12 level to prepare graduates for college and career opportunities in high-demand STEM fields

Explore the creation of incentives to retain recent STEM-degreed individuals committed to remaining in-state for five years, with an emphasis on those graduates who enter the teaching profession.

High school Career Counselors:

  • Decrease the student-to-counselor ratio, require regular professional development for school counselors and ensure academic coursework align with students’ desired career pathways
  • Explore modification of counselor licensure to differentiate career counseling from social/emotional counseling
  • Require school counselors to advise students in middle school (6th, 7th and 8th grades) of their eligibility to enroll in various state financial aid programs

Required FAFSA Completion: Support matriculation to post-secondary educational institutions by making FAFSA completion or affirmative opt-out a requirement of high school graduation

Autonomy: Provide school districts flexibility to pay teachers based on high need and specialized subject matter areas. Empower local education officials to make administrative and structural decisions affecting individual school performance, including the option to extend school hours, merit pay options, providing voluntary alternative retirement benefits options such as defined contribution plans for new teachers

Operational Efficiency & Facilities: Support school corporation’s operational efficiency efforts by creating a 5-year, renewable exemption to the “Dollar Law” for school corporations that meet the following criteria:

  • Proven willingness and ability to partner with charter schools as demonstrated by:

    • 20% of school corporation’s student population attending innovation network school or innovation network charter schools
    • Equitable distribution of district operating referendum dollars to all innovation network schools, both in-LEA innovation network schools and out-of-LEA innovation network charter schools

  • Proven overcapacity of facilities within the district as demonstrated by independent analysis and verification
  • Commitment to address operational efficiencies as demonstrated by:

    • Undergoing strategic facilities optimization study on current and future population/enrollment projections
    • Implementation of strategic operational efficiency plans through strategic disposition of the properties previously subject to the dollar law 

School Funding:

  • Count Day: Support the inclusion of the second count date for the k-12 funding formula to ensure schools are able to adequately accommodate changing student populations throughout the school year
  • Complexity Index: Protect the Complexity Index as an essential tool for improving school outcomes by allocating adequate resources to schools educating challenged students

    • Capture an accurate reflection of complexity by considering population of students with histories of trauma (measured by ACE scores), English as Second Language students, and those with developmental difficulties
    • Eliminate racial gaps in per pupil funding allocation, and address the findings of the 2020 report on Indiana school funding commissioned by Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation 

Teacher Pay: Support efforts to increase teacher pay from the state to local school districts 

Charter Authority: Expand the authority of the Mayor of Indianapolis to charter Pre-K educational institutions and require local public hearings for the re-chartering of schools attempting to switch charter authorizers after a charter has been revoked

Financial Literacy: Promote financial literacy education through existing k-12 curriculum requirements and encourage the DOE to develop sample curriculum for local schools to implement

Legislative Priorities Index

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