By Tyler Juranovich
INDIANAPOLIS — Brad Chambers, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, believes Indiana’s education system is “not producing enough well-educated Hoosiers and has released a plan he believes will fix that.
Dubbed the “Learn More, Earn More” plan and unveiled earlier this month, Chambers’ plan includes a variety of different initiatives, including increasing teacher pay, requiring third grade students pass IREAD before advancing to fourth grade, individualizing education through digital technologies and more.“My campaign is focused on growing the state’s economy, and you can’t do that if our children are not educated well,” Chambers said in a brief interview with the Tribune last week.
The plan, in a bit more detail, is as follows:
Requiring all students to pass IREAD before moving beyond third grade
Chambers said Indiana “must stop” using “good Cause Exemptions” to allow third graders who fail the IREAD exam multiple times due to the fact elementary grade students who cannot read well are more likely to drop out of school later in life and, thus, their earning potential and quality of life is diminished. The Indiana General Assembly is currently considering codifying this into state law.
Ensure funding “give parents ample choice”
Any state-certified entity that provides an education, whether that be a traditional public school, charter school, private school or magnet school, should receive the same level of funding for each student it enrolls.
Develop clear career pathways for students
Chambers believes Hoosier students should be able to access technical education programs beginning in the seventh grade, not just in high school. Additionally, pathways for careers in public service, trades, manufacturing and life sciences should also be established in Indiana schools.
Individualize education using technology
“Education must modernize so that it is more individualized and prepares students to thrive in an economy of the future.”
Increase focus on skill-brd learning
Chambers wants Indiana to also focus on teaching students skills “that will prepare them for future employment”
Combat chronic absenteeism
Chambers wants Indiana to “leverage new technologies to make going to school and learning more fun, interactive, future-focused and relevant” and “ensure parents are engaged” in their children’s education.
Increase teacher pay
Chambers believes effective teachers “must be paid more than they earn today.” His policy brief, though, does not state a minimum or specific average pay.
Chambers wants the state to continue to leverage federal dollars to expand broadband access to all Hoosiers, especially for low-income families, at “little to no cost.”