Chamber Priority Bill on Computer Science Clears Senate Committee

Bill # and Title: SB 172 – Computer Science Curriculum
Author: Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond)
Summary: Establishes the Next Level Computer Science Grant Program and the Next Level Computer Science Fund to award grants, after June 30, 2019, to eligible entities to implement teacher professional development programs for training in teaching computer science. Requires the Department of Education to: (1) administer the program and fund; and (2) develop guidelines to award grants from the fund to eligible entities. Requires (beginning July 1, 2021) each public school, including a charter school, to offer a computer science course as a one semester elective course in its curriculum at least once each school year to high school students. Requires (beginning July 1, 2021) each public school, including a charter school, to include computer science in the public school’s curriculum for students in kindergarten through grade 12.
Chamber Position: Support
Status: Passed 11-0 out of committee as amended and moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for further consideration.

Update/Chamber Action: The committee heard testimony last week and this week the bill was amended to move administration of the program and the fund from the State Board of Education to the Department of Education.

Senate Bill 172 aligns with an Indiana Chamber top priority to have all K-12 schools offer computer science courses. (Ultimately, the Chamber would like to see computer science as a graduation requirement.) In addition, we testified in support of the teacher professional development fund to be created. All are in step with our Indiana Vision 2025 goals to help skill up the state’s future workforce.

House Workforce Bill Gets First Hearing

Bill # and Title: HB 1002 – Reorganization of Workforce Funding and Programs
Author: Rep. Todd Huston (R-Fishers)
Summary: Repeals various educational and workforce training programs and provides for program phaseouts, effective July 1, 2019. Requires the State Workforce Innovation Council to review each proposed grant award by the Department of Workforce Development before the grant is awarded by the department. Establishes the Next Level Workforce Training and Development fund as a dedicated fund for certain state workforce training and development programs. Dedicates all corporate adjusted gross income tax revenues to the fund. Establishes the employer workforce training grant fund to provide money for grants to eligible employers that incur costs or expenses for training programs that allow their employees or prospective employees in Indiana to attain a work-related degree, certification or credential. Makes a continuous appropriation from the Employer Workforce Training Grant Fund to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Requires the State Board of Education, when establishing an apprenticeship as a graduation pathway requirement, to establish as an apprenticeship only an apprenticeship program registered under the federal National Apprenticeship Act or another federal apprenticeship program administered by the United States Department of Labor. …
Chamber Position: Support in Part
Status: The bill was heard for testimony in the House Ways and Means Committee this week but no amendments or votes were taken.

Update/Chamber Action: Tackling the issue of creating a skilled workforce, without using any additional dollars, is a serious undertaking and requires bold ideas. This legislation provides such out-of-the-box thinking. We support many of the provisions within the bill and are reviewing others and making recommendations on any necessary tweaks. We are also engaging our members for input. Overall, the Chamber applauds the effort in this legislation to make necessary changes to assist in the effort to tackle workforce development.

Competency-Based Education Legislation Moves to Ways and Means

Bill # and Title: HB 1264 – Competency-Based High School Education
Author: Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville)
Summary: Establishes the competency-based high school education pilot program to provide grants to school corporations for the design and implementation of competency-based education programs in high schools. Provides that the Department of Education administers the pilot program.
Chamber Position: Support
Status: Passed out of the House Education Committee 9-2; recommitted to House Ways and Means Committee for further discussion.

Update/Chamber Action: The Chamber testified in support of this bill as we support this type of educational model that seeks to utilize existing knowledge and aptitudes towards degree programs. The Chamber has a policy on competency-based education at the postsecondary level and we feel that the same idea applies to K-12. These models should have strong definitions of learning outcomes, measurements of student learning and alignment to workforce systems.

Resource: Caryl Auslander at (317) 264-6880 or email: [email protected]