Governor Mitch Daniels today signed Senate Enrolled Act 1, a key measure in his comprehensive education reform package that changes the way teachers are evaluated and paid. For the first time in Indiana, teacher effectiveness will be part of decisions for hiring, salary and promotions.
"Among all the things we can do to make more successful the children of this state, nothing comes close to a better teacher. We are so glad that Indiana has leaped to the forefront by saying to people of all backgrounds and all walks of life, 'come and teach,'" Daniels said, surrounded by Hoosier teachers from such organizations as Stand for Children, Students First and Teach for America.
Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, was the author of the bill; Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis was the sponsor.
Among provisions, the measure:
* Requires locally developed, rigorous annual teacher evaluations that include student achievement and growth in student learning.
* Permits school corporations to develop systems that reward great teachers with more pay.
* Performance is now a factor to determine hiring, promotion, salary and dismissal decisions. Seniority and academic degrees may count for one-third of the consideration used for pay increases.
* Does not allow a student to be taught by a teacher rated ineffective two years straight without parent approval.
* Requires the Department of Education to partner with businesses and organizations to help schools increase operational efficiency
* Permits schools to pursue action against parents whose children are habitually absent and requires them to report the children to juvenile court or the Department of Child Services.
"This is no ordinary moment; this is no ordinary General Assembly. This General Assembly, this governor, has opened the door for Indiana to honor the truly inspiring and inspired teachers in no way that we've done before," said Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett. "None of this is possible without the courage, the vision, and the leadership of America's best governor. I am honored to serve with him and be a small part of that."
In the coming days, Daniels will sign the remaining pieces of his sweeping education reforms, including a bill that will expand charter school opportunities, one that provides parents with more school choice, and a measure that provides postsecondary scholarships to Hoosier seniors who graduate from high school early. Daniels has already signed SEA 575, which focuses teacher collective bargaining on wages and wage-related benefits. The General Assembly approved also the governor's recommendation for directing $150 million more on K-12 education in the next two years, including funds to expand full-day kindergarten to all students in the state.