The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2004 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.
Gov. Mitch Daniels signed legislation passed during lawmakers’ 2005 session, requiring that specific information be given to dropouts and establishing rules for more rigorous course requirements for a high school diploma.
Under the new dropout policy, an Indiana public school student who is at least 16 years old can now withdraw from school only after he or she attends an “exit interview” with the school principal. At that interview, the principal must give the student and the student’s parents information about the consequences of dropping out.
Another law will require students entering high school beginning with the 2010-11 school year to complete a core curriculum to graduate from high school.
The “Core 40” curriculum, endorsed by the state board of education and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education more than a decade ago, is currently recommended by the state but not required. Aligned with the state’s academic standards, the college-preparatory curriculum will be required for students who want to attend a four-year state college or university.
In other action, lawmakers picked a fight with bullies by passing legislation that requires schools to adopt rules specifically prohibiting bullying and requires anti-bullying training for all school safety specialists. It also requires every school to start a “safe school committee.”
Gov. Daniels also signed a $24.3 billion, two-year state budget in May. The K-12 education budget for fiscal 2006 is $5.8 billion, a 1.2 percent increase over fiscal 2005.
The small increase was better than legislators’ early predictions after the newly elected Republican governor announced in January during his State of the State Address that there would be no new funding for education, said Scott Minier, the legislative liaison and policy analyst for the Indiana Department of Education.