Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Julie Rawe

Julie is Assistant Producer of Noon Edition. In addition to reporting for WFIU, she also works as an intern for NPR's State of the Re:Union. She is a graduate of Indiana University where she studied French, anthropology, and African studies.

Why Changing The GED To Incorporate Common Core Worries Adult Educators

Plainfield Prison GED classroom

Julie Rawe / StateImpact Indiana

Students in Dawn Grage's GED classroom are trying to pass the high school equivalency test before it changes on Jan. 1, 2014.

The nationwide move towards the Common Core State Standards isn’t just changing expectations for students in high school classrooms. It’s also raising the bar for those who dropped out.

The GED Testing Service is updating their high school equivalency exam to reflect the new, nationally-crafted academic standards 46 states around the country have — at least in part — adopted.

“Rumor is that it’s going to be much harder,” says Dawn Grage, who has been teaching GED classes in Indiana’s prisons for more than 20 years. “A lot of these guys have enough struggles getting through the current GED. And if it makes it harder and with computers, the older gentlemen … there are some guys who have never touched a computer.” Continue Reading

What A Coal Mining Program Says About The Future Of Correctional Education

Bill Shaw / WTIU

Department of Corrections officials say it costs about $7,000 to run a program like this one for 15 people. Before the college degree programs ended, the state spent $7 to 10 million to educate 2,400 students. The state paid this funding directly to the DOC’s partner colleges.

It’s graduation day for 33-year-old prison inmate DJ Coomer at the Branchville Correctional Facility in Branchville, Ind.

He’s wearing his beige prison uniform, not a graduation robe. He’ll have to hand over his diploma to the prison secretary before he leaves the graduation ceremony, and at the end of the day, he’ll still be in prison, where he’s doing a year for dealing meth. But in spite of that, Coomer is excited about what his new certificate will allow him to do once he gets out.

“I’m going to be certified to where I can actually go to work at a coal mine,” says Coomer.

Indiana’s prison administrators are redesigning their educational programs for prisoners. After the state cut funding for college degree programs for inmates, prison officials are now focusing on training inmates for jobs in specific industries.

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Summer Break Or Tuition Break? IU Students Weighing The Benefits

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

The Sample Gates at Indiana University Bloomington, taken last summer. This summer, IU system campuses statewide will offer a 25 percent tuition discount.

Some state policymakers have made it clear they’re none-too-pleased about the increasing tuition students have to pay to attend public universities in Indiana.

In response, the state’s colleges — from Purdue, to Indiana State, to Ball State — spent the latter half of 2011 trying to find creative ways to decrease students’ costs of attendance. Last October, Indiana University announced it would cut summer tuition by 25 percent at eight of its statewide campuses.

If IU sees a 10 percent bump in summer school enrollment, as the university projects, the move will save students (and cost the school) $11 million dollars. But some students say, while the tuition break is a nice perk, the discount doesn’t change what they can afford.

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