Rushville Republican

Columns

January 29, 2013

Ziemke: Education, doorway to opportunity

RUSHVILLE — Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013 was an historic day for our state. Governor Pence gave his first State of the State address, delivered in the House Chamber to all Indiana legislators, officials and residents, formally announcing his goals for his first term as governor. He gave us many reasons to be optimistic as Hoosiers in the look ahead.

I was honored to be part of the proceedings. I was slightly overwhelmed by the energy and excitement shown by the audience, as it really was a jubilant occasion. As a freshman legislator, it was a new experience, one that I felt privileged to be a part of.

According to the Indiana Constitution, the governor is required to “give to the General Assembly information touching the condition of the State, and recommend such measure as he shall judge to be expedient.” Governor Pence did that and then some. He said that “our state is strong and growing stronger because we have good government and because we serve a great people.”

Coming from the leader of our state, that is a strong and uplifting statement. Governor Pence shared many of his ideas to continue fostering the growth and improvement of Indiana. The part that interested me the most, as the vice-chairman of the Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee, was his focus on education and the Department of Child Services.

Children are the top priority for the state, as is securing a better way of life for future generations of Hoosiers. More than half of the state’s budget is allocated to K-12 education; we are making investments in Indiana’s future. These classrooms host future innovators, doctors, scientists, engineers, and most importantly, leaders.

We can all agree that we want the best for our children, and it starts with offering world-class education. A quality education does more for students than teaching them only basic subjects. School, especially the first few years, is when children develop a majority of their social skills and world views, along with their work ethic. Teachers who set high standards and encourage students to reach for the stars are the ones who make the biggest impact.

Another good point made by the governor is that every student should be encouraged to go to college, but not every student is college bound – and that’s OK. I think our schools do a pretty good job of making other options available to kids after high school, but increasing the availability of technical, vocational and career training will only help to improve the lives of our kids and our economy as a whole.

Hearing Governor Pence speak made me realize once again how grateful I am to be able to serve the people of my community and of our great state. I could not be prouder to be a Hoosier and I hope you are too. We are truly blessed to live in a great country and state that preserve the freedoms and liberty we so dearly cherish.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. I am available by phone at 317-232-9850 or by email at h55@in.gov.

(State Rep. Cindy Ziemke serves as Vice Chairman of the Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee. She also serves on the Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee and the Select Committee on Government Reduction. Rep. Ziemke represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.)

 

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