Stand Day at the Capitol
Our annual “Stand Day at the Capitol” is where parents learn about civic engagement and how government works. This year, we had to take a virtual approach, resulting in more meaningful conversations between parents and legislative leaders. We are so grateful to the lawmakers and parents who participated this year.
So, what was different this year? The biggest difference was that instead of one long day with multiple events, we created three shorter sessions on specific policy topics that directly align with our goals for the year. These topics were Criminal Justice Reform, Closing the Achievement Gap, and Reforming Outdated, Ineffective Discipline Policies.
Because we were not able to get together in person, the workshops were hosted through Facebook Live. At first, we thought parents wouldn’t be comfortable online, but it turns out they really liked it! Being able to get together, but not leave their home and children, makes it even easier for them!
Parents met and spoke directly with State Senators Sean Bowie and Paul Boyer. Our conversation revolved around the topic of Arizona's educational achievement gap. Research shows several key issues contributing to the achievement gap, and, therefore, issues that we can address to start to close it such as reading proficiency and the need for quality teachers. Additionally, the pandemic has taken issues we already knew were key – quality childcare and early childhood experiences, English Language support, and access to technology and 21st-century skills and brought them front and center. But they’ve always been the key to student success. Parents and legislators discussed “bright spots” that can be replicated through state policy, as well as the need for additional funding.
In partnership with the Berkley Law Center, Stand for Children Arizona promoted the issue of Youth Justice by introducing HB 2385. We are proposing to end the imposition of juvenile court fees and ensure that all youth regardless of their zip code, race, and families’ economic position have the same access to rehabilitation options.
We are optimistic that we can get this done very soon, with bipartisan support both at the legislature, and from Arizona voters. In our most recent annual survey, a majority of voters in Arizona support eliminating fees associated with juvenile courts.
Thank you again, Representatives Ben Toma, Walter Blackman, and Diego Rodriguez for working with us!
Schools should be a place where students are safe and kept in the classroom. This is why our team at Stand AZ is working to reform school "push-out" and ineffective “zero tolerance” policies to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn and grow.
Most importantly, we need to limit expulsions and suspensions for young students, 4th grade and under, except in specified extreme circumstances.
Young students can be prone to behavioral outbursts as they emotionally develop, but the ways schools address that behavior is outdated and needs to be reformed. Read Arika Rocha's story, she is a mom and parent advocate with Stand. Look at this coverage on the Arizona Republic.
Our conversation featured parents speaking with State Representatives Reginald Bolding, Alma Hernandez, and Michelle Udall to discuss Arizona's discipline practices, and the need for schools and parents to work together on addressing students' needs in the classroom, rather than sending them home without any supports to change their behavior.
All three Stand Days were very thought-provoking and a great experience for Stand parents! Thank you again to our legislators who participated!