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Lawmakers Weigh New School Coalition Pilot Program

By Jeanie Lindsay, IPB News | Published on in Business, Education, Government, Statewide News
Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) speaks in the Indiana House. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) speaks in the Indiana House. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

A bill making its way through the General Assembly would allow some school corporations to form what’s being called a “coalition.”  As Indiana Public Broadcasting Jeanie Lindsay reports, the pilot program to better prepare students for life after high school would also let schools ignore some state rules.

Up to eight school corporations would be able to participate in the coalition, or mega think-tank.

A big focus would be on offering more, better workplace learning programs, but would also include paths for students to earn higher education credits.  And coalition corporations would be allowed to waive some state requirements to make that happen, including things like the amount of time students spend in certain classes.

Batesville Community Schools is credited as the model for the bill; it already has a program in place for students to get manufacturing experience and earn higher education credits.  Superintendent Paul Ketcham says more flexibility with state mandates would allow even more schools to find what works, and apply it in other schools.

“So that’s the concept: it’s a think-tank that becomes a do-tank.”

Proposals from the coalition to waive any state requirements would need approval from the State Board of Ed.  Behning also says schools would still be responsible for meeting accountability standards, and preparing students for required testing.

The Senate Education and Career Development Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill this week.