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Legislative Preview: Lawmakers Focus On Finding Teachers, Getting Them To Stay

Judy Baxter

As Indiana policymakers prepare for the 2016 legislative session, they are defining the issues they plan to address – and, like last year, education falls near the top of the list. Measures to address Indiana's teacher shortage will take precedence this session; lawmakers’ agenda mirrors that of many education leaders in the state: teacher recruitment and retention.

During a panel event Monday hosted by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, House Speaker Brian Bosma confirmed that teacher recruitment will be the focus of House Bill 1002 – the House's second priority, after transportation.

Bosma says he will work with Representative Tony Cook to sponsor the bill.

Helping attract some of our state’s best and brightest young people to the education profession – that’s one step," Bosma says. "Licensing, open borders for excellent teachers from other states, it’s all part of the picture."

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz says she’s pleased that conversations about teaching – like those she’s leading with her Blue Ribbon Commission – are beginning to turn into action.  

"That’s what the legislative process is really all about," says Ritz. "Coming to a common sense of what it is we’d like to see happen."

Speaker Bosma says the legislature will also work to safeguard teachers and schools from what are expected to be much lower ISTEP+ scores from last spring, something Gov. Mike Pence has already identified as a critical concern.

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