OUR VIEW: HEA addressing education challenges

Goshen News Posted: Thursday, January 8, 2015

As many of us are keenly aware, the path to a happy and productive life is often paved with continual education. More than what we look like or how we sound, the substance of our education is who we are. It affects our sense of humor, our level of responsibility, the options that we have and the money that we make.

We are so fortunate here to have quality educators who go above and beyond to educate our children and young adults from pre-school through graduate school. Way too often, however, these efforts are diminished by the proliferation of politics in education that over the past 15 years has siphoned more and more control from the local community to the state and federal government.
STILL, DESPITE the political posturing in Indiana’s General Assembly and the continual rhetoric streaming down from Capitol Hill, the answer to many of our educational challenges reside here with us. That’s why we commend all those involved with The Horizon Education Alliance who have come together with the goal to, “strengthen collaboration, increase innovation, and move everyone from hope to belief that Elkhart County will be transformed though education.”

Yes. People who get it. That is a mission statement that makes real sense, not some sound bite during a campaign stop.

The Horizon Education Alliance was born in 2012 as a result of the impact from the Great Recession in 2009 that devastated the economic base of Elkhart County and boosted unemployment in the county to around 20 percent. Its board and staff are comprised of educators and administrators who have dedicated their lives to educating children here where we live. They are people who understand that children learn in different ways and paces, overcome different obstacles at school and home, and pursue different goals and interests beyond high school.

The alliance is also packed with local business leaders who know what it takes to make a community and company work from an economic standpoint.
HORIZON HAS QUIETLY become a force in local education. According to Horizon’s website, it has helped implement “Tools of Mind” in 20 Elkhart County preschools, a program designed to integrate play experiences that “incorporate the types of interactions necessary for self-regulation.”

Horizon, as Goshen News Education Writer Julie Crothers shared this past Sunday, has also helped local high school staffs initiate pilot programs addressing learning gaps that may otherwise require remediation in college. Furthermore, Horizon has focused on students who may not wish is pursue post-secondary education and steer them toward the dual-credit Early College High School program. And Horizon helped 92 adults earn their High School Equivalency diploma during the 2013-14 program year.

These initiatives can be life changers for someone we know and love.

If you wish to learn more about or become involved with the Horizon Education Alliance, visit its website at heaindiana.org. You will be encouraged by what you read and comforted by the fact there are real community stakeholders stepping up to help conquer real community challenges.