Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

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
Opinion
  • House of Burgess: Bush presents 'The Art of Leadership' On April 5, “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” opened at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University. The display, which runs through June 3, boasts “portraits of more than

    April 16, 2014

  • Bohanon: ‘Economics is fun’ in Vegas or in Bible study

    I am writing this on an airplane to Las Vegas. I’ll be attending the annual conference of the Association of Private Enterprise Education along with two of my colleagues and six of my students.

    April 16, 2014

  • Letters to the Editor: April 16, 2014

    At the time the agenda for the April 7 commissioner meeting came out, I was happy to see that the neglected commissioner board appointments were finally going to be addressed. These appointments had been in limbo for months on end.

    April 16, 2014

  • Hayden: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids

    The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards.
    That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation data were released last week.

    April 15, 2014

  • Letters to the Editor: April 15, 2014

    In a recent “public eye” article written by KT columnist Scott Smith about the proposed industrial wind turbine project; mention was made of the “new deal” brokered by Howard County Commissioners with E.ON.

    April 15, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Mike Pence for president in 2016? Stay tuned Mike Pence for president? The swirl of 2016 national ticket talk surrounding Gov. Pence intensified over the past few weeks. I sat down with the governor in his office on Tuesday to find out what he's really thinking. A few hours prior, the Weekly S

    April 14, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: Such a thing as too much My wife and I went on a binge last week. If you think I'm talking about an eating binge, you've never seen how thin we both are. If you think I mean a shopping binge, you don't know how cheap we are. And if you think it was a cleaning binge, you've n

    April 14, 2014

  • April 14, 2014: Letters to the editor Watch for bicyclists on roadways, drivers When you ride a bike near a semi, there are at least four blind spots where the driver can't see you. We need to be careful when we ride near trucks. If we get hit by a semi, it's usually our fault. But we ne

    April 14, 2014

  • April 14, 2014: Weekly wrap FEMA no friend to hardship Many government officials ... across the state are likely asking themselves if the winter of 2014 will ever end. Sure, the snow has long since melted, but the bills from plowing snow, treating roads and hauling away the whi

    April 14, 2014

  • Immunize your child Pertussis is a communicable disease Americans just don't worry about today. Health professionals begin immunizing infants against pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus with the DTaP vaccine just two months after birth. But pertussis, better known as whoo

    April 13, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers
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