When you prepare to leave the house in the morning, you might take a shower or pour yourself a cup of coffee. If you’re gearing up for a job interview, you might dry clean your suit or update your resume.
What you do depends on which situation you’re preparing for – which is part of the issue with the phrase “college and career ready.”
It’s one of the most common expressions in modern-day education lexicon. Most states – including Indiana – boast “college and career ready” academic standards, and emphasize preparation for both pathways as the end goal of a student’s K-12 education.
But what does the term mean, exactly? How a student “gets ready” for college could be very different from how they prepare to go directly into the workforce – is it possible to be ready for both at the end of one’s K-12 experience, or are those objectives at odds with one another?
President Obama Tuesday signed what he called the “Student Aid Bill of Rights,” to help college students manage the process of dealing with student loans. The executive action directs federal agencies to take steps to help borrowers pay back their loans quicker, protect themselves, and get assistance when needed.
Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst 1 of 5. U.S. President Barack Obama signs a presidential memorandum, a Student Aid Bill of Rights to Help Ensure Affordable Loan Repayment, in the Oval Office in Washington, March 10, 2015.
Many school districts that traditionally get more state funding from complexity money testified before the Senate school funding subcommittee Tuesday to explain the detrimental loss that the reduction in complexity money will have on their schools.
Indianapolis Public Schools superintendent Louis Ferebee testified to the importance of dollars that go to low income kids. He says staff outside of teachers, like nurses, are crucial in IPS where a school nurse might be the primary healthcare provider for a kid.
The legislature is considering a bill that would notify students taking out student loans annual updates on their debt. (Photo Credit: 401(K)2013/Flickr)
One of the education bills still alive in the General Assembly would require universities to annually update students in the 21st Century Scholar program or those receiving Frank O’Bannon scholarships (both state funded scholarship programs) of their current student loan debt.
The goal of the bill is help students be responsible when it comes to taking on debt to complete school.
As legislators hammer out the details of the law, we at StateImpact wanted to share what this notification might look like. Indiana University currently has a similar tactic: the school sends students an annual “debt letter” outlining how much money an IU student will owe when he or she graduates, and how long it might take to pay back.
Jim Kennedy is the Director of Financial Aid at IU and helped start these financial literacy efforts around student debt two years ago. Students who take out loans receive financial counseling before they begin school and after they graduate, as mandated by the federal government. But Kennedy says it’s the years in between when students need the most guidance. Continue Reading →
House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis. (Photo Credit: Brandon Smith/IPBS)
House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, says he hasn’t decided whether to back that plan.
“Still a little curious as to the elimination of the representation from congressional districts, the geographic dispersal, and whether it should just be the governor’s appointments or the legislature should be involved as well,” Bosma says.
Senate Republican leader David Long, R-Fort Wayne, says he thinks his chamber’s plan is more balanced than the House bill.
“It shows that we really are looking at the functioning of the board itself and how can we get maybe a better operating board without pointing fingers at any one person and saying, ‘If we make this one change, that changes everything,’” Long says.
The House bill would keep current state board members in place, while the Senate version would require members be reappointed, should they wish to continue serving.
Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, during a meeting of Indiana’s Senate Education Committee in January. (Photo Credit: Kyle Stokes/StateImpact Indiana)
By the end of the current session, the General Assembly will finalize a budget for the next two years, with education needs dominating most of the dollars.
The House already passed a budget, and today the Senate Appropriations committee began discussions on what their colleagues sent over.
In terms of school funding, the proposed budget would change how much each student receives. We’ve already explained this new version of the funding formula, but here’s the basic gist: rather than giving more money to schools with more students in poverty, the distribution among students will be more equal.
Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, presented the House budget (which he wrote) to the Senate committee Thursday. Senate appropriations chair Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, commended Brown for his work.
Under the proposed budget, complexity money – the dollars given to low income students in addition to the basic tuition money – is set to decrease. Kenley says the Senate will likely tweak the budget, including taking another look at how to adjust those complexity dollars. Continue Reading →
Next Tuesday, March 10, marks the deadline for college-bound students in Indiana and across the U.S. to submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA form. Colleges use information from the FAFSA to determine their scholarship awards – Indiana has nearly $300 million in state aid available this year – which is why Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers and her counterparts around the country are encouraging potential students to complete the form on time.
As the due date approaches, our colleagues with NPR’s Education team take a closer look at the form and how some lawmakers hope to simplify the application process.
Look closely. Buried deep in President Obama’s 2016 budget (Page 41) is a proposal to cut up to 30 questions from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The Obama administration has already done a lot to make the FAFSA easier – if not shorter.
“We lost some world languages, we lost our International Baccalaureate program at the high school level, we lost the ability to run most of our science labs for more than a year, because our class sizes exceeded the safety ratings,” says Zionsville Superintendent Scott Robison.
The district has also laid off teachers and posed multiple referendum questions to supplement its state funding. To understand why Zionsville is in this situation, you have to know how the way we fund schools has changed. Continue Reading →
“We believe that implementing our long-term recommendations will improve the design and implementation of the ISTEP+ program in the future,” the report reads. “We remain willing to assist in and perhaps monitor efforts to implement these recommendations.”
As a refresher, the feds required Indiana to create a new test this year, after the state pulled out of the Common Core and PARCC last April. State leaders hope to better align the state test to state standards so they can create a more refined assessment for 2016 and beyond.
How can they do so? Let’s look at the short- and long-term fixes Roeber and Auty suggest…