Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

May 14, 2013

Hayden: From good to great in education

On the campaign trail last year and early into his administration, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said repeatedly that his goal as governor would be to take Indiana from “good to great.”

He borrowed the phrase from the 2001 book by the same name, by author Jim Collins, who wrote the book to share management advice from 11 companies that performed spectacularly well in the 1990s.

I appreciate the governor’s intent: The best selling book is a roadmap of sorts for how to engineer long-term success and sustainability, which is why every state agency leader was given a copy at Pence’s first meeting with his cabinet back in January.

He told reporters that day that he instructed his agency leaders to develop “good to great” plans of their own.

But that instruction assumed Indiana had already achieved the status of “good.”

I thought about that “good to great” phrase this weekend, while reading stories about college and high school graduation ceremonies going on around the state.

Are we even close to being “good” when it comes to education in Indiana?

Here are some things to consider before answering that question:

Statewide data collected by the Indiana Commission on Higher Education show almost 30 percent of Hoosier high school graduates need to take at least one remedial course in math or English when they get to college. (It’s more than 60 percent for Indiana high school graduates headed to our two-year colleges.) Those are courses that carry no credit, but cost just the same as the ones that do.

There are high schools in Indiana with much higher rates than that average. Of the 375 public high schools, 235 have more than 30 percent of their college-bound students that need this extra expensive help. Thirty of those high schools have more than 50 percent of their college-bound students in need of remediation.

In Indiana, 8 percent of high school graduates were granted special “waivers” by their schools in 2011 because they couldn’t pass the basic end-of-course assessments needed to get the regular diploma. There are schools in Indiana, in both rural and urban areas, where it’s closer to 30 percent.

Is that even close to “good?”

“Mediocre” might even be a stretch when considering our dismal educational track record: We’re one of the least-educated states in the nation, as measured by four-year college graduates in our adult population. Only about one-third of adults in Indiana hold at least a two-year degree.

The good news is that there is a lot of good work going on to address these issues, much of it lead by the tenacious Teresa Lubbers, the head of the Indiana Commission on Higher Education and a former state senator.  Under her leadership, the commission is pushing the state’s universities to help repair the disconnect between them and high schools when it comes to “college readiness.”

And a new law that will go into effect before the upcoming school year, authored by state Rep. Ed Clere of New Albany, will push high schools toward providing remediation needed before their college-bound students get their high school diplomas.

But we’re still a long way from being able to call ourselves “good” when it comes to providing the skills and knowledge needed by many Hoosiers to get good and meaningful work.

And a long way from the “great” prescribed by “Good to Great” author Jim Collins. “For, in the end,” he wrote in the book, “it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: Let's put lethal injection to sleep

    It was only a matter of time before this happened again; and I’m sad to say I’m not surprised at all.
    On July 22, the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for the killing of Arizona death row inmate James R. Wood III, who had filed suit requesting a delay until the state revealed the details of the drugs that would be used to end his life.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • ANDREA NEAL: Fleeting canal era had lasting impact on state Editor’s note: This is one in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016. In 1825, the Erie Canal was completed to great fanfare. Cannon fire, parades, balls and speeches celebrated the speed and ski

    July 30, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Pence, Bayh crowd field with questions In the 2016 political landscape, a pair of the state's political big dogs -- Republican Gov. Mike Pence and former Democratic U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh -- have potential candidates holding their breath and waiting on them. Until Pence says otherwise, he's

    July 29, 2014

  • JEFFREY McCALL: All things Hillary are not news, just distractions This column has nothing to do with who should or will win the presidential election in 2016. It has nothing to do with partisan politics of any flavor. This column does, however, assess how television is oversaturating the "news" agenda with countles

    July 29, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: World is rising up to meet Putin's thuggery Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads

    July 28, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: A trip to end all trips My wife is planning a very exciting vacation to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. This was a big surprise to me. Not the vacation part, but the 35 years. I thought it was 34. Right now she is on the back porch, the patio table stacked high with

    July 28, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Happy marriages do not just happen My wife, Marylu, and I met through a mutual friend. My wife had been involved with Campus Crusade at her university, where my friend, Norman, also attended. One Christmas break, Norman invited his friends from church (including me) to a party — along

    July 27, 2014

  • MICHAEL HICKS: Truth about inflation Almost nothing in economics seems to confuse people as much as monetary inflation. That confusion leaves an intellectual void into which some of the least credible ideas of the modern world crawl.Goods and services typically have a price dictated in

    July 27, 2014

  • RAY DAY: Some laws will do us in In my opinion, we have made laws that are contrary to what they were intended. And this writer is going to let you in on his thoughts about them. One of the things that has been processed incorrectly is the child abuse law. When you tell the parent h

    July 26, 2014

  • MARK HEINIG JR.: Will Pence, Ritz and their playmates ever grow up? Many Hoosier Republicans are curious about Gov. Mike Pence’s future. He probably is, too. Assuming he doesn’t wish to return to Congress or retire from politics, he must decide whether to seek another term as governor of Indiana or run for president

    July 25, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller