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May 14, 2013

State faces higher education challenge

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

In Indiana, 8 percent of high school graduates were granted special “waivers” by their schools in 2011 because they couldn’t pass the basic end-of-course assessments needed to get the regular diploma. There are schools in Indiana, in both rural and urban areas, where it's closer to 30 percent. 

Is that even close to “good?” 

“Mediocre” might even be a stretch when considering our dismal educational track record: We’re one of the least-educated states in the nation, as measured by four-year college graduates in our adult population. Only about one-third of adults in Indiana hold at least a two-year degree. 

The good news is that there is a lot of good work going on to address these issues, much of it led by the tenacious Teresa Lubbers, the head of the Indiana Commission on Higher Education and a former state senator.  Under her leadership, the commission is pushing the state’s universities to help repair the disconnect between them and high schools when it comes to “college readiness.” 

And a new law that will go into effect before the upcoming school year, authored by state Rep. Ed Clere of New Albany, will push high schools toward providing remediation needed before their college-bound students get their high school diplomas.

But we’re still a long way from being able to call ourselves “good” when it comes to providing the skills and knowledge needed by many Hoosiers to get good and meaningful work. 

And a long way from the “great” prescribed by “Good to Great” author Jim Collins. “For, in the end,” he wrote in the book, “it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.” 

 

— Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen. hayden@indianamediagroup.com 

 

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