School counseling services, teacher training, and the governance of education in Indiana could all be changing in 2020. A group of lawmakers studying key education questions have finalized their recommendations for the General Assembly to consider next year.
The summer study committee on education took a closer look at a handful of issues this year, including: support and funding for career coaching and counseling services in schools; a growing list of required teacher trainings and their frequency; how school funding referenda can change teachers’ pay; and the governance structure of education policy in the state.
The committee recommends that school counselors and career coaches should be split into two separate categories, because of the services they provide. It says the state should prioritize money to the Department of Workforce Development if schools need funding to support career coaching – the goal is to boost career exploration and coaching services for every student in the state, including in elementary school.
It also makes the point that schools should reduce their student to counselor ratio to 250 to 1. According to the Indiana School Counselor Association, the average student to counselor ratio in the state is 497 to 1.
The group also wants to revive the state’s Education Roundtable, under a new name: The Roundtable for Life Long Learning. The idea is to unify policy making from early education all the way to higher education, with an emphasis on workforce needs.
The committee also wants the state Department of Education to take charge of consolidating teacher trainings, and how trainings for different topics are offered and when. Some, members say, could even be better suited for teacher preparation programs, or joined with other trainings on similar subjects.
Lawmakers convene next month for Organization Day to prepare for the 2020 session.
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