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Indiana legislators hear testimony on four education bills

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Posted at 9:07 PM, Jan 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-18 21:07:38-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The Senate Education Committee heard testimony on four different bills Wednesday. Each of them has the potential to impact your kids’ education.

One of the bills that had support from all of those who testified is a curriculum change. Under Senate Bill 35, high school students would have to pass financial literacy classes before they graduate.

"The issue is certainly a part of one’s lifelong learning,” Gail Zeheralis with the Indiana State Teachers Association said in support of the legislation. “it would be a great thing for students to graduate armed with some knowledge in these areas that will help them avoid making bad personal financial decision later and perhaps chronically. “

This legislation, if passed, would add the class to high school students' curriculum that would graduate by 2027. However, the author of the bill says the start date is flexible. The goal of the legislation is to make this a separate class that students would have to pass, not to add the curriculum to a current class students are already taking.

A bill that got both lawmakers and the public talking was Senate Bill 305. The bill would expand vouchers to any family in Indiana who wants one, including those that are homeschooled. It's something one teacher feels could lead to discrimination.

"The lack of state oversight puts voucher schools at a position to discriminate while taking taxpayer dollars. That lack of state oversight and the lack of perimeters on who can receive this newly created voucher puts the state in a financial risk, “ Jenny Whitaker, an Indianapolis teacher, said.

However, others, including the bill's author, say that this would give parents more choices.

"The ESA program is truly the first program in Indiana to put complete control of a child’s education in the hands of the parent,” Molly Collins with the Institute for Quality Education said. “No other program hands the reins to parents to truly customize their child’s education as this program does. “

None of these bills received a vote today but will in the future.