Strong state support for Ivy Tech and Ball State will help make our schools better and lift the local economy. Good college and university programs mean better public school teachers, and help in other ways. Look at what Ivy Tech has done for our downtown, and notice the good work of Ball State faculty and students on projects such as the ones that improve our greenways, enhance and expand programs at our community centers and after school programs, and intern at local businesses. This work helps make our community more appealing to new businesses.
The best of public school programs is even more vital. Schools that retain students to graduation and offer a top education guarantee success in subsequent careers or advanced studies. Most people agree that school excellence is a very high priority, but ideas about how to provide it differ. In the last State legislative session, the governor and Superintendent Bennett took a radical turn toward state funding of private education. The Indiana General Assembly cut school funding by 300 Million dollars a year in the state budget and passed a last minute addition of tax deductions for school supplies to help parents of home school and private school students; a tax deduction that is not available to parents of public school children. They took money away from the schools that most Hoosier children attend. At a time when some public school districts are asking parents to pay for the use of school busses because funds are short, this change is wrong. In the House, I will fight to make your public schools the best.
Early childhood education has a great effect on success in all later education, and helps people get and keep jobs. As evidenced by the Muncie Action PLan and the Muncie-Delaware Chamber of Commerce Vision 2016, Muncie community, education, and business leaders recognize that a commitment to early childhood education is a powerful and longest- lasting investment for a community's economic health. Unfortunately, the state of Indiana has a failing grade in this area. The National Institute for Early Education Research in its publication, The State of Preschool 2010: State Preschool Yearbook, gives a state-by-state summary of what the states are doing. It begins the Indiana chapter with huge capital letters announcing that Indiana has "NO PROGRAM." As your representative, I will work hard for change that would make "TOP FLIGHT PROGRAMS" the way to describe what we have.