Editorial Roundup: Indiana

Indianapolis Business Journal. October 28, 2022.

Editorial: Special care and transparency needed to plan for Indiana's water needs

As Indiana economic development leaders prepare a 7,000-acre innovation district for development in Boone County, it's become clear that more attention needs to be paid to the state's water needs.

As IBJ's Peter Blanchard reported last week, state officials are exploring the possibility of tapping into the aquifer along the Wabash River in Tippecanoe County and piping water 35 miles south to meet the water demands of potential tenants of the massive Boone County development.

Just this week, the Lebanon City Council approved an agreement to reserve water and wastewater availability for a $2.1 billion project Eli Lilly and Co. plans to build on the innovation site.

The agreement would pre-allocate 864,000 gallons of water per day for the Lilly development, the only tenant announced so far for the innovation district. Much more water would be needed if other large industrial tenants are lined up.

While a study of central Indiana's water resources last year concluded the region is generally well-positioned to meet its water needs for decades to come, Boone County is among the few localities expected to need additional capacity.

But the Indiana Economic Development Corp. sees the county as being strategically located along Interstate 65 between Indianapolis and Purdue University, with the potential to become a major research and innovation hub.

The IEDC has declined to say whether tapping into the Wabash River aquifer is among the options being considered to meet the area's water needs but said the innovation district holds the promise of driving the region toward a solution for a long-standing need.

David Rosenberg, IEDC's executive vice president, told IBJ many options are on the table and that it's too early to get into specifics.

Like residents in the area, we hope the IEDC will soon become more transparent about its intentions and that it is thoroughly taking into consideration the potential impacts tapping into the Wabash aquifer will have on residents, farmers and businesses that already rely on that resource.

We also hope economic development officials are giving strong consideration to developing a plan that would reuse and recycle water, as some have suggested. While the practice is not widely used here, it could help reduce stress on existing aquifers.

Most of all, we hope Boone County's dilemma will encourage regional economic development groups to take a deeper look at their existing water needs and the future demands required for economic growth.

While nothing like the water shortages in California have been predicted for Indiana, previous studies have found that counties south of Bloomington could face water-supply problems in the not-too-distant future without proper planning.

The issue could become particularly problematic if economic growth along the southern spur of Interstate 69 takes off as some state leaders envision.

Ultimately, no part of the state should become economically parched due to the lack of an adequate water supply. And care must be taken to make sure existing aquifers aren't overtaxed or abused.


Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. October 30, 2022.

Editorial: Legislative education committee started something they didn't need to begin

Indiana General Assembly's interim education study committee recently tried to shove ahead a terrible idea that reminds one of a famous line from 'œMen in Black.'ť Agent J tells an alien that continued provocation will lead to an untenable situation. Well, Agent J stated it in less diplomatic terms.

'œDon't start nothing, won't be nothing.'ť

Even considering changing the teacher discussion law '“ which the committee wisely walked back '“ only amps the perception that the legislature's supermajority would instead subjugate teachers than work with them. So, there was no need to start something here.

'œThe change could limit teachers from raising concerns and discussing with their superiors issues relating to class sizes, student discipline, working and learning conditions, and student-teacher ratios,'ť The Indiana Capital Chronicle reported. 'œSuch discussions are commonplace for teachers throughout the school year and required under current Indiana law.'ť

The committee's Democrats voiced their disapproval due to, as they said, the lack of prior discussion about the proposal. In a bid for bipartisanship, the committee agreed to remove the language from the report. But this isn't necessarily final. Indeed, it may be the end of the beginning.

'œBut this does not preclude us from having this discussion during (the) session,'ť committee chairman Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis, is quoted in the Chronicle. 'œIt just says (this item) won't be in the report.'ť

The Indiana State Teachers Association is going to fight. And so is Jennifer McCormick. The former Indiana superintendent of public instruction was in town Wednesday to discuss issues as she mulls a gubernatorial run as a Democrat.

'œI don't know where this is coming from, but I will say that at a time where we're struggling to find teachers, we want their environment to be empowering and supportive,'ť McCormick told The Journal Gazette, adding that Indiana public schools have 3,700 open teaching positions.

McCormick's reaction to the committee's attempt to alter teacher discussions isn't about timing. It's just bad policy.

Another policy idea that made it through the committee would be to integrate financial literacy curriculum into specific math courses. In looking at data culled from surveys on financial literacy, this curriculum is integral to our future.

Earlier this year, Forbes reported that 32% of American workers run out of money before payday, 'œa figure that includes those earning $100,00 or even $200,000 a year.'ť

'œConsidering all of this, it's no surprise that just four in seven Americans can be categorized as '~financially literate,''„'ť Forbes contributor Kevin Chavous wrote earlier this year, 'œand only 24 percent of millennials understand basic financial concepts.'ť

There's a need to integrate financial literacy concepts into the curriculum. So, what gets trimmed out of the math curriculum '“ or another class or part of the day '“ to fulfill a new state requirement?

As scores from the most recent National Assessment Educational Progress indicate, Indiana's teachers face a long battle to improve math and reading scores that fell by a historic rate across the country.

Burdening teachers with another mandate is something that education study committee member Sen. Shelli Yoder, D-Bloomington, warned her colleagues about.

'œI would hate to see us doing something that would add to our math educators' workload or expectations when really, we need them to be all hands-on deck, 100% focusing on raising our students' math test scores across the board in Indiana,'ť she's quoted in the Chronicle.

And who's going to pay for it? Will districts be responsible for their financial curriculum, or will the state control that?

These are questions for the supermajority's decision-makers, who McCormick said have a collective interest in satisfying one goal '“ privatization.

'œI think a lot of the education decisions that are being made today in Indiana are being made by people who want to take the public out of public schools,'ť she said.

There's a perverse logic or great political theater in removing teachers' voices, saddling them with mandates, insulting their intelligence and integrity then wondering why the state can't attract teachers or keep the ones already here.


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