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[29] House Republican Agenda pt. 2
Start Date: 10/12/2012Start Time: 12:00 PM
End Date: 10/13/2012End Time: 12:00 PM
Entry Description
House Republican Agenda pt. 2
Expanding Education

Most of us can think back to an influential teacher or mentor in our childhood that led us to make choices that defined our life. Those defining moments guide many students to become leaders in the community and in the lives of others.  

Over the years of doing these columns I have mentioned several times how lucky I was to have wonderful teachers throughout my days in Noblesville Schools. Several I am still very close with and they remain very active leaders in our community.  As a teacher or mentor they were so influential because of how they lived by example, and our students are learning and guided to be leaders every day by Indiana’s best and brightest teachers.  As a teacher you may never really know what that one thing was that you helped a student with, or how special you make them feel just by listening to them, but it is so impactful. 
 
When the House Republicans released our agenda titled “Own Your American Dream”, we outlined three main goals for the 118th General Assembly. Jobs and fiscal integrity are vital areas what we need to further Indiana’s economic progress and boost Hoosier families. The other is education, because we must focus on continuing to build up our education system through great teachers and a focus on the children. 
 
The recession has brought many challenges but over the past few years, legislation has been crafted with the purpose of creating an economic environment conducive to job growth and attracting high quality jobs to Indiana. We also built an education system focused on what children need to excel and open the doors to their future. 
 
I am proud of the accomplishments we have made, and although these were steps in the right direction, there is always room for improvement. As we continue to provide an economic climate that grows Indiana’s economy we must train a workforce to fill those jobs, which was the focus of my article last week. 
 
Indiana classrooms are filled with wonderful teachers that lead our students every day, but there are key shortages in teaching areas, such as math and science, that need to be filled.  Many positions are available for individuals educated in the science, technology, engineering and math fields (STEM). There are an estimated 2.4 STEM jobs for every unemployed person, according to ChangetheEquation.org.  Creating a strong educational path for children at a young age will put them on track to fill those demands and set them up for wonderful and fulfilling careers. 
 
An emphasis will be placed on promoting early childhood education and expanding education opportunities for all Hoosier families. In Indiana 61% of children (ages 3 -4) are not enrolled in preschool, only seven states have a higher percentage than ours. We need to look at the options that are available and see which need to be expanded or added to. 
 
A statistic that is even more troubling is that the likelihood of a student not completing high school is three times greater for impoverished children when compared to those who are not. We cannot stand by and let that continue because all Indiana students should have the same opportunity to succeed. The legislature will work to bridge partnerships between rural schools and educational groups to improve student’s educational careers from start to finish. 
 
Bringing back some of the vocational opportunities in a high school setting is one way I feel we can help students. Students may not currently have the choices and opportunities to find their niche available to them right now, but moving forward we will work to expand vocational programs for Hoosier students.
 
What we have accomplished has led us to where we are now, and where we are now is number one in the Midwest in our economic standings and our education improvement. The tools that we are looking to give all students will help us create an Indiana that is built on a foundation of high quality jobs and an education system that is second to none.  
 
In closing I would like to acknowledge three Noblesville educators that passed away recently.  Maynard Wolf, a principal and guidance council at the Junior High and High school, was a good friend to all the students.  He was the most pleasant person I have ever met, and always had a kind word and a smile on his face. 

Eleanor Dorman taught English at Noblesville High School, and I think she fits that mentor role as well as anyone ever could.  Many of her students went on to teach because of the influence she had on their lives. 

Finally, Marty Locke, who had taught as an elementary teacher at North.  I never had Marty as a teacher, but as friends of my mother she was a part of my life as I was growing up.  I'm sure there are many Noblesville school kids that have many memories of these three educators and the influence they had on their lives.
 
-30-
Contact Information:
Name: Michael Niland
Phone: 317-232-9805
Email: mniland@iga.in.gov
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    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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