LEGISLATURE ADDRESSES TEACHER SHORTAGES
While another school year races rapidly to a close, the summer ahead will see new laws take effect that may have a profound positive impact on Indiana education. On July 1, these bills become law, taking aim at reducing teacher shortages and funding concerns in Indiana schools and improving educational opportunities for all Hoosier students.
Senate Enrolled Act 22 –Indiana’s shortage of qualified teachers in areas like math, science and special education is addressed by allowing the Indiana Department of Education to grant initial teaching licenses to highly qualified Hoosier professionals with post-graduate degrees and some teaching experience.
Senate Enrolled Act 51 –Over half of Indiana’s teachers are age 50 or older. Like other states, Indiana already faces teacher shortages and strives to stretch educational dollars. SEA 51 encourages retired teachers to return to the classroom in as few as 30 days, tapping valuable experience, filling critical positions and saving limited resources, because neither the district nor teacher must make pension contributions.
House Enrolled Act 1193 – A study committee will be created to find ways to address funding shortages for adult education programs throughout the state. The legislation was written in response to funding shortages in one community resulting from local programs accepting students living outside the district. Further review during the legislative session revealed adult education programs throughout the state are facing budgetary shortfalls.
House Enrolled Act 1246 – Because small schools often have difficulty offering advanced level courses, HEA 1246 creates a study of virtual online learning for K-12 schools to provide greater educational opportunities to students throughout Indiana.
Sen. David Long (R-Fort Wayne) is President Pro-Tem of the Indiana Senate. He serves District 16, which includes portions of Fort Wayne.