INDIANAPOLIS | The Indiana House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved legislation intended to ensure high school students are ready for college classes, but a region lawmaker accused representatives of trying to do remediation "on the cheap."
House Bill 1005, which now goes to the Senate, requires school officials identify 11th graders they expect will either fail the graduation exam or need remedial classes before beginning college work for credit.
Those students would then be required to pass a college and career readiness exam or take additional classes in 12th grade designed to eliminate the need for remedial college classes.
"It's simply a question of alignment, seeking to make sure that preparation and remediation, if necessary, occurs in the high school setting," said state Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany, sponsor of the legislation.
According to state Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, among two-year college students who enter needing remedial classes, just 9.2 percent will earn an associate degree in three years. Among four-year college students needing remediation, only 27.3 percent earn a bachelor's degree within six years.
"The statistics are staggering, and it's not a benefit to the student for us to let them leave our K-12 system in need of remediation," Behning said.
However, state Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh, D-Crown Point, pointed out the legislation does not increase state funding for remedial services, which last year totaled just $3 million.
Instead, it adds another test on top of the bevy of tests students must take during their junior year of high school, she said.
"You can't implement a program without putting money behind it, and we are so far behind in remediation dollars we should just be completely ashamed," VanDenburgh said. "We're failing all the other kids at every grade level and we're just cleaning things up at the end before we shove them out the door."
The Republican-controlled chamber on Tuesday rejected VanDenburgh's proposal to require the state match remediation funding to the $43 million it spends every year on student testing.