January will mark the beginning of the first full legislative session since the pandemic began. Tragically, the racial and socio-economic injustices that contribute to struggles so many Hoosiers face have only grown and become more pronounced since the last March.
This is especially true for the families we help empower. There is tremendous concern about learning loss generated by the disruption in schooling, and what can be done to help students who are furthest behind catch-up academically.
Our 2021 education agenda is centered on addressing the “COVID slide” that disproportionately impacts Black and Brown students, as well as making progress on years-old (or even generations-old) inequities in public education. This includes pushing for:
- Establishing a COVID academic emergency fund to help districts and schools pay for evidence-based plans to address learning loss and increased learning time for children who are the furthest behind academically;
- The reversal of changes to the school funding formula that have resulted in 35% cuts to schools educating large populations of low-income and traditionally underserved students;
- Ongoing efforts to increase teacher pay and elevate the profession so students most in need have access to excellent educators; and
- A school accountability system that is more transparent for parents and addresses the need to shine a bright spotlight on racial opportunity gaps.
Along with our education priorities, we will be focusing on youth justice reform for the first time. We’re proud to join the Indiana Coalition for Youth Justice and partners like the Children’s Policy and Law Initiative in advocating for key changes to address injustices in the juvenile system that directly prevent young people – especially Black and Brown youth – from reaching their full potential. In particular, we’ll be working alongside partners to change state law to stop youth from being held in adult facilities pre-trial, to end the terrible practice of juvenile life without parole, and to eliminate fees and costs that are strapping children and families with debt and keeping youth under continual court oversight.
We hope you’ll join us in this advocacy at the statehouse. If you have interest in testifying about these issues, or have a story of young person or family impacted by the injustices of the youth justice system, we want to hear from you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org