Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett offered the following statement Wednesday in response to Senate Bill 575’s and Senate Bill 497’s passage in the House Education Committee:
“I believe Indiana truly has the best opportunity in the nation to pass comprehensive education reform that puts students first, and today’s votes on collective bargaining and accelerated graduation do much to advance that goal.
“With the House Education Committee voting today to send SB 575 on to the full House for second reading, Indiana is now one step closer to a system that gives school leaders the flexibility they need to build and lead their instructional staff and drive student performance. The bill protects teachers’ rights to collectively bargain the issues that should be in contract – salaries, pay scales, and wage-related benefits – while making sure contracts aren’t bogged down by provisions that distract from schools’ core mission: teaching children.
“I applaud Chairman Behning and other committee members for working collaboratively with a number of stakeholders to address concerns with some of the language while continually focusing on putting students first. This important bill will ensure teachers and school leaders can work together to make the best decisions on behalf of Hoosier students.
“Likewise, I commend the committee members for supporting SB 497 to provide an accelerated option for Hoosier students who are ready to pursue their post-secondary academic endeavors early.
“Moving forward, education stakeholders must continue working with policy makers to recognize and reward great educators, empower local school leaders and give parents a voice.”