Fairbanks Foundation Report Highlights Good, Bad in Indiana Ed

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A new study released by the Indianapolis-based Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation Inc. offers a glimpse into the current state and the future of education in Indiana. "Closing The Graduation Gap: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates in Indiana" reports the state's 87.1 percent graduation rate is among the highest in the country. Chief Executive Officer Claire Fiddian-Green says "the good news is we've made great strides over the past 15 years, but there's more work to do."

During a recent (i) on Education interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, she detailed some of the study's key findings and the connections between what students learn and the needs of the workforce. "That means making it relevant -- the course work in high school -- to what it's actually going to actually be like when you're in the work place, so that could be through apprenticeships, through more rigorous career and technical education programs offered in the high school setting," Fiddian-Green added.

She says pushing for more academic rigor in all corners of the state would benefit Hoosier students. Fiddian-Green believes school leaders have stepped up to the challenge of providing a more strict academic foundation and finding better ways to link classroom learning with jobs after graduation. "I think that schools and principals and teachers recognize that we need to continue to raise expectations because we live in a global economy -- and that's just the reality," she said. "We have states competing for multi-national companies -- those companies competing for global talent -- so, it's up to us to prepare our students to be successful in the 21st Century."

The report highlights areas for improvement, including discrepancies between the federal and state-reported graduation rates, a "clear division" with regard to collection, reporting and use of data at the state and school levels, and a call to create a statewide data system for better accountability that provides real-time date for teachers and staff.

You can connect to the full report by clicking here.

Editor's Note: The authors of the report have revised the originally-published executive summary, which incorrectly cited Indiana's graduation rate as the highest in the nation. The online version of the Inside INdiana Business story has been adjusted accordingly.

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