The 2011 legislative session is now over and the bills have been enacted. It was an incredibly interesting session to watch, especially for me as this is my first year getting involved in advocacy in Indiana. Some of the measures passed will do great things for youth and some will need to be watched to see what their full impact will be. Here is a brief summary of some of the bills that passed that MCCOY was following.
SEA 1 (P.L. 90-2011) Teacher evaluations and licensing – links the effectiveness of teachers, in addition to other factors, to student performance. Also has provisions defining “attend,” policies outlining excused vs. unexcused absences, parent notification and reporting of habitually absent students to Juvenile Court or the Department of Child Services.
SEA85 (P.L. 142-2011) Education issues study committee – establishes an interim study committee to look at the causes of low graduation rates, best practices to increase graduation rates and the impact of school counselors, teachers, administrators and parents on grad. rates.
SB497 Higher education scholarship – inserted into the budget bill – provides a $4,000 Mitch Daniels Early Graduation Scholarship for high school students graduating earlier than senior year for an approved post-secondary education institution within Indiana.
HEA1002 (P.L. 91-2011) Charter schools – increases the number and types of entities that can sponsor charter schools, adds accountability measures and delineates that only 90% of teachers must possess a license.
HEA1003 (P.L. 92-2011) School scholarships – provides a $1,000 tax deduction for parents who home school their children or send them to a private school and provides scholarships to help cover private school tuition to students in families meeting certain financial requirements.
Full-day kindergarten funding – provides schools access to additional full-day kindergarten grants.
SEA4 (P.L. 93-2011) Suicide prevention training for school personnel – provides that teachers should be trained in evidence-based suicide prevention and recognition of signs that a student may be considering suicide. After June 30, 2013, any person applying for a teaching license must be trained in suicide prevention.
HEA1083 (P.L. 180-2011) Various criminal law matters – provides that schools may offer classes, instruction or programs regarding the risks and consequences of “sexting.” Also mandates that schools must include provisions against cyber-bullying in their discipline policies.
HEA1107 (P.L. 183-2011) Preventative programs for at-risk children – provides that a juvenile court may create a voluntary preventative program for at-risk children.
Over the next month, MCCOY will be watching the calendar of the Interim Study Committees and will post periodic updates as they progress. Please stay tuned. As always, if you have any questions or would like more information, please contact me. Thank you for your dedication to advocacy!