Governor Signs Dermody Graduation Bill, Other Education Legislation

A bill sponsored by Representative Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte, aimed at helping students finish college on time is now law. It was one of several education bills signed recently by Governor Mike Pence. The new law provides incentives for students to stay on track towards graduating with a bachelor’s degree in four years or an associate degree in two years. Students who graduate from high school with an academic honors diploma will earn increased higher education awards. Additionally, public colleges and universities are now required to commit to on-time degree pathways for each student and to bear the costs of any additional credits needed to complete the degree if the student follows the map and maintains a satisfactory GPA.

Pence also signed a bill he says “hits the pause button” on the Common Core State Standards so they can be reviewed. The Department of Education must provide a written evaluation of Common Core by July 1. The law also establishes a legislative study committee to explore issues related to academic standards and calls for the Office of Management and Budget to assess the fiscal impact of implementing Common Core or an alternative set of academic standards. A final decision on Indiana’s academic standards is due from the State Board of Education before July 1, 2014.

A third piece of legislation provides new strategies to help schools identify and respond to students’ remediation needs and ensure that students graduate from high school ready for college or a career. The new law allows additional flexibility for remediation grant funding to reach at-risk students and requires more communication from schools to parents.