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Collaborating to improve education in Elkhart County

GOSHEN, Ind. - Business leaders, educators, and legislators are collaborating to improve education in Elkhart County. State legislators joined the Horizon Education Alliance in Goshen Friday to discuss solutions.

“It’s exciting to see a community get engaged and really work together...We want to look at ways that policy isn’t in the way of creativity and innovation, so it’s very helpful to have the dialogue today," said IN State Representative and Chairman of the House Education Committee, Bob Behning.

“One of the challenges is when the policy and laws do not match the realities in each community.The opportunity to help engage local leaders with state leaders would bring about more relevant expectations and accountability measures that match schools and industry," said Director of Student and Adult Pathways of the Horizon Education Alliance, Jason Harrison.

The alliance believes education and industry goals go hand-in-hand.

“Our businesses are the moderators in that whole partnership, because what they care about is being able to run their businesses for the next 30, 40 years, and they can’t do that unless they have employees that are capable of performing the functions they have in their businesses," said Principal of Elkhart Central High School, Frank Serge.

Harrison says the county is lagging behind state and national education attainment.

According to American Community Survey data, 80.5% of the Elkhart County population has obtained at least a high school diploma.

In comparison, 88% of Hoosiers have a high school diploma, and 87% in the entire U.S.

Those numbers are not setting local businesses up to grow, so stakeholders are hitting the whiteboard and starting at the foundation together.

"How do we work with the kids in a creative fashion to make sure they have real world experiences in businesses, they learn to problem-solve real world problems," said Principal Serge.

"It can’t be one against the other, so they’ve done a very good job of I think bringing everyone together and getting everyone excited about opportunities for kids," said Representative Behning.

For more information on the Horizon Education Alliance, click here.


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