Indiana gov. candidate Brad Chambers introduces new education-related plan

INDIANAPOLIS — Brad Chambers, a Republican candidate for Indiana’s governor, recently brought forward a new education-related plan that, if implemented, he believes would prepare “every Hoosier student for a successful future.”

Chambers, the state’s former secretary of commerce, released his “Learn More, Earn More” education plan on Thursday. This comes after Chambers has released other plans, including a law enforcement-related plan, a “Safe Online” plan as well as a “Combating China” plan.

“To prepare Hoosier students for the future and our state for continued economic success, we must rethink and redesign our education system, ensuring parents are front and center,” Chambers said in the release. “For far too long our system has been backward-looking instead of forward-looking, preventing our students from achieving their maximum potential in an economy of the future. Now is the time to act boldly and with urgency to get this right.”  

Chambers said he believes that the state’s current education system is not producing enough well-educated students, stressing that the state’s economic future depends on addressing education issues “with urgency and aspiration.”

The “Learn More, Earn More” plan consists of the following measures:

  • Require all students to pass IREAD3 before moving beyond third grade
    • Chambers said there is evidence that indicates that students who cannot read by the end of third grade will struggle through the rest of their academic careers. Chambers aims at stopping the “social promotion” of students and “significantly reduce the use of ‘good cause exemptions.’”
  • Ensure funding truly follows the student, giving parents ample choices for their children’s education
    • Chambers said that any state-certified entity that provides an education, including public schools, charter schools, private schools or magnet schools, should receive the same level of funding for each student it enrolls. Chambers stressed that while the level of funding per student will vary, based on their background, the level of funding should be the same regardless of the type of school they attend.
    • Chambers also stressed that funding should follow the student to their specific school, rather than being allocated to the district.
  • Develop clear career pathways for endless opportunity
    • Chambers said that Hoosier students need to have access to technical education programs, as well as entrepreneurship education programs. Chambers also stressed the importance of the creation of pathways for careers in public service, as well as pathways in trades, life sciences and manufacturing-related jobs.
  • Allow for individualized education to best fit the needs of each student
    • Chambers said that the overall education system “must modernize” so it can be more individualized and prepare students for the future. Chambers said this includes implementing advancements in various digital technologies, like artificial intelligence, to develop curricula, lesson plans and assessments that “are designed to meet the learning needs and styles of each individual students.”
    • Chambers believes these kinds of programs can have students learn more in accordance with their individual strengths. This technology can also give parents “more control over how their students are taught and what they learn.”
  • Increase focus on skill-based learning
    • Chambers said that he wants schools to focus on demonstrating a mastery of skills for future employment, something that he believes is “arguably as, or even more important” than current school standards that are designed around mastery of academic content like English, history and chemistry.
    • “Students cannot develop skills in a vacuum – it is knowledge that gives them a foundation for learning,” Chambers said. “But students need the time and opportunity to practice the skills that will help them use their knowledge effectively.”
  • Combat chronic absenteeism which hinders the ability of students to effectively learn and develop
    • Chambers said new technologies should be used to make going to school and learning more fun, interactive, future-focused and relevant, so students continue to want to go to school. Chambers also stressed the importance that parents, as well as the community, are engaged.
  • Treat teaching as the profession it is and increase teacher compensation based on performance and demand
    • Chambers stressed that teachers need to be paid more and their pay should be based on their performance in the classroom and the outcome of the teachers’ efforts. Chambers also said that the state should be able to offer teachers in high-demand subjects, like STEM fields, higher salaries to compete with other employment opportunities.
  • Ensure that all students have secure, reliable broadband access
    • Chambers said that every Hoosier student should have access to secure, reliable and high-speed broadband connectivity.
    • “Although much progress has been made on this, there are still too many places across the state without adequate internet access, especially in our rural areas,” Chambers said. “Just as the state pays for student textbooks, it should also provide financial support to enable low-income students to access the internet at little to no cost.”

As of Jan. 10, Indiana gubernatorial candidates can officially declare their candidacy according to officials with the Indiana Election Division. A number of other candidates have already announced their intention to run for the position in 2024, including:

  • Mike Braun, the current U.S. Senator for the state of Indiana and a Republican
  • Curtis Hill, a former Indiana Attorney General and a Republican
  • Suzanne Crouch, Indiana’s current lieutenant governor and a Republican
  • Eric Doden, the former president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and a Republican
  • Brad Chambers, Indiana’s former secretary of commerce and a Republican
  • Jamie Reitenour, a Republican
  • Jennifer McCormick, the former superintendent of public instruction for Indiana and a Democrat
  • Donald Rainwater, a Libertarian.

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