Teresa Lubbers

The accountability system for Indiana's public schools could change. Yet whether that means added flexibility to the controversial A-F format or blowing up the system entirely remains to be seen.

A new report from the Commission for Higher Education shows Hoosiers enrolling in college at slightly lower rates than two years ago.

Chris Morisse Vizza / WBAA News

After fewer than six minutes of public discussion Thursday afternoon, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education approved Purdue University’s plan to merge with online educator Kaplan University.

The ICHE is one of a handful of bodies that has to sign off on the merger before it can officially proceed and the educational offerings of the two institutions may become one.

New data from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education shows students are completing college sooner than in years past. But completion rates for minority students are still behind those of their white classmates.

Overall, 1 in 3 Indiana college students graduates on-time.

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More Hoosiers are now completing college in a timely fashion, according to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

But black and Hispanic students are still far less likely than white students to graduate on time.

About two-thirds of Indiana students now receive a bachelor’s degree within six years. 

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A report out this week finds improvement for the number of Indiana high school graduates ready for college. However, the state Commission for Higher Education says the achievement gap for poor and minority students persists.

The commission's annual Indiana College Readiness report found 82 percent of Hoosier students who enrolled in college in 2014 were prepared for coursework -- an improvement of five percentage points.

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During the fourth State of Higher Education address Wednesday, Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers focused on increasing the value of higher ed in Indiana, and says the commission can  work to ensure college and credential programs lead students to jobs.

To do this, Lubbers says universities must partner with employers to provide internship opportunities for students.

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A state program that covers up to 100-percent of college tuition is seeing more students ready to graduate in four years. State officials credit the rise to a 2013 law requiring students complete a certain number of credits each year -- or lose their aid.

Commissioner of Higher Education Teresa Lubbers says there’s only so much state financial aid money available.

“You always have limited state dollars, so you want to spread those as broadly as you can to benefit the largest number of students,” Lubbers says.

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Fewer people are signing up to become teachers in Indiana. The number of new licenses dropped over 10,000 in three school years.  Hoping to combat the trend, lawmakers are focusing on two new actions taking aim at this problem.

The first attempt to increase the teaching force in Indiana comes from the legislature, which kicked off its 2016 session this week. House Speaker Brian Bosma says he will file a bill that creates a new program, called the Next Generation Hoosier Educator Scholarship.

Lawmakers: 'Is There REALLY A Teacher Shortage?'

Oct 29, 2015
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Statehouse discussions on how to address a teacher shortage are centered largely on why and whether there's a shortage to begin with.

The number of Hoosiers earning education degrees has dropped about a third over the last decade. Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) contends there's a direct cause and effect from what he charges are "punitive" evaluations and increasing public criticism of teachers by lawmakers and other leaders.

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