I want my children to have an equitable education because it is something all kids deserve. Because I know there are schools here in Indy doing a much better job of closing the opportunity gap, I hope that IPS looks at those schools and partners that can get results for kids like mine.

There is not an achievement gap, there’s an opportunity gap because ALL kids can achieve. It comes down to the opportunities provided by our public education system. As a parent, I want IPS leaders to do everything they can to close the opportunity gaps I see. I want them to partner with schools, no matter the type of school, when it means kids like mine will get a fair shot. I want them to grow the schools that are working.

Add your name to this petition if you agree that IPS should look at the data and then grow the models that are proven. Our kids deserve schools that are equitable and get results.

All children are capable of amazing achievement in the classroom. It comes down to the opportunities provided by our public education system.

It is not a secret that there are opportunity gaps in the IPS district, but I believe if we grow the schools that are working, we can begin to close those gaps. I believe IPS can be a district where all students achieve no matter their race or income level. Having a district free of opportunity gaps starts with acknowledging the schools, regardless of type, where students are on grade level and having a plan in place to grow those models.

If you agree, I hope you’ll join me and sign this petition today.

Too many IPS students don’t have access to high-performing schools that are closing the opportunity gap. Together we could change that.

Please add your name to this petition that is asking IPS leaders to grow the schools that are getting dramatically better results for Black and Brown students. Closing the opportunity gap is good for everyone.

No student is perfect, no school is perfect, no parent is perfect—but if we invest in the growth of models that work, we can begin to close the gap and aim even higher for the sake of Indianapolis students.

In September I asked IPS leaders to share data that highlights the public schools in our city that are closing the opportunity gap, regardless if those schools are IPS schools or local public charters, by the IPS Action Session in October. Watch my video here.

As a parent, all I want is for my kids to have what I didn’t have, which is why I have spent years advocating for IPS leaders to grow schools that are closing the opportunity gap.

Join me by signing this petition asking leaders to grow proven models.

My children’s IPS school has a lower opportunity gap compared to many, but I didn’t know that when I picked their school. I feel lucky they attend one of the schools that has a much higher percentage of Black and low-income students testing on grade level, but I wish more parents could send their child to any IPS school and know that it was succeeding at closing the gap and helping our kids thrive.

Sadly, that’s not the case for most families in the IPS district. But there is good news: There are schools here in Indianapolis that are doing a much better job of closing the opportunity gap. These are schools that could be replicated under the district umbrella if district leaders decide to form strategic partnerships and grow data-proven models.

At the September IPS Action Session, several parents asked IPS leaders to share data on some of these schools. My hope is that with this data, district leaders will do the right thing and form partnerships with models that are proving all kids can succeed. My hope is that one day IPS kids can attend any school and get a great and equitable education.

I am calling on IPS to partner with public charter schools or any local public school when it means delivering better educational opportunities for Indianapolis children. I believe there is no higher priority than increasing access to school programs that are working for children of color and low-income students.

If you believe this too, please sign this petition asking IPS leaders to grow the schools that are working for historically underserved students.

All children are capable of amazing achievement in the classroom. It comes down to the opportunities provided by our public education system.

Over two years ago, I posted this video. In it, I talk about the opportunity gap in IPS and why I want to see more just and equitable schools. Since then, two of my children have started attending one of the schools in our city that is doing a much better job of closing the opportunity gap. My understanding of how important it is to close the gap has only grown.

Last night, I spoke to IPS leaders at the Action Session. I requested they share data about the schools that close the opportunity gap in October. Watch my video from last night here.

Today, I also want them to do something about it. I want them to feel what I feel when I see that only 5.4% of Black students in IPS passed both section of the ILEARN and allow that heartbreak to push them to grow schools that are working for children of color and low-income students.

Please join me in asking IPS leaders to grow schools that work and close the opportunity gaps we’ve experienced for decades now by adding your name to this petition.

Too many kids are failing and too many kids aren’t getting an equitable shot at success. I will no longer accept the status quo because our kids deserve more. Our kids not getting a great education affects our whole community.

I know IPS leaders care, but we need them to act in the best interest of Indianapolis kids and grow data-proven schools. If you agree, please add your name to this petition today. Our kids can’t wait.

At the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) Action Session, I asked district leaders to transparently share the data that highlights public schools in IPS boundaries that close the opportunity gap, regardless of school type.

I want them to share this data in October because I know that we can partner together and learn from this data. It is so important for us to not only look at the schools that are equitably educating Black and Brown students, but for us to do something about it.

Watch my remarks here:

Last night, I spoke at the IPS board meeting. During this meeting, I requested IPS leaders share data about schools in our city, not all of which are IPS schools (but all are public schools), that are doing a much better job of closing the opportunity gap. I also asked them to take action and create a plan to partner and grow schools that are seeing much better outcomes for Black and Brown students.  

Watch my speech to the IPS board here:

View data about the opportunity gap in our city here:

This is not the first time I have asked IPS leaders to close the opportunity gap. For years, parents like me have been asking IPS leaders to use data to drive decisions that can help grow schools that working for Black and Brown children. If this data tugs at your heart, please join me in being a part of the solution. The more people who sign the petition, the more likely IPS leaders will act.  

I got involved with advocacy because my children weren’t getting the type of education I wanted them to have – the type of education that would set them up for success.

But over the years, Stand for Children Indiana has taught me that I can do something about the inequities I see in our public schools. I can make a difference not only for my children but for other children as well. You can too.

If you haven’t already and you live in Indianapolis, I hope you’ll take two minutes today to take this survey. Being involved for as many years as I have, I know that your answers truly matter to Stand Indiana and will be used to make sure parents like me advocate for the things that matter to you and this community in the coming year.

Stand for Children Indiana staffers Carolina Figueroa and Kristin Casper at the Indiana statehouse.

Our team has been reviewing the collective action that went into some landmark wins this last legislative session, and the results are truly something to celebrate. Here’s a visual snapshot of how your voice and our collective efforts drove substantial progress for young people and their families:

For a full summary of the work Stand for Children Indiana and advocates accomplished this session, check out this blog.

Governor Holcomb pictured along with Stand for Children Indiana staffers Carolina Figueroa and Kristin Casper at a ceremonial signing of House Enrolled Act 1558 on May 22, 2023.

April 28 marked the end of a busy and exciting 2023 legislative session in Indiana. We are thrilled to update you on the policy priorities we shared as the legislative session started, which focused on advancing educational equity and youth justice in Indiana.  

Before we jump into the policy, we want to thank the many advocates who engaged throughout the legislative session – from participating in listening sessions to identify needs and policy solutions to interacting with lawmakers or sharing experiences with members of the media. Hundreds of you sent thousands of emails to policymakers and many shared their lived experiences in testimony before committees. Advocates like you made a huge difference for Hoosier kids and families.  

Ensuring our public schools are equitably funded and the school funding formula considers low-income and traditionally underserved students as well as our SPED and ELL populations. 
  • In terms of K-12 funding, Stand Indiana and advocates worked to rally support for significant increases in the English Language Learning (ELL) and complexity grants, as well as addressing the funding gap for charter schools.  
    • We initiated an email campaign focused on equitable funding, which led to nearly 2,400 emails being sent to key lawmakers who would decide on the final budget.  
    • We worked closely with partners like The Mind Trust and EmpowerED Families, who both did an excellent job championing the major reforms to charter funding that passed into law (which should net about $2,300 in additional money per student).  
    • Advocates like Irma, Lizeth, Mary and Dontia shared their lived experiences with the School Funding Subcommittee.   
Advocating for our public schools to be equipped with the curriculum and best practices in teaching reading that aligns with scientific research as our state faces a literacy crisis.
  • Over the course of the legislative session our team, powered by the voice of our advocates, spent extensive time helping shape HEA 1558 – a bill that dramatically changes our state’s approach to literacy instruction in the classroom.  
    • As a result of HEA 1558, Indiana classrooms will now be required to use evidence-based reading practices. Because lawmakers added the $40 million early literacy grant fund to the budget, hundreds of additional schools will have access to the training and staffing support they need to help struggling readers much more effectively. This funding will also help ensure districts can hire reading coaches.  
    • Our work will now shift to supporting the implementation of this landmark legislation, which should lead to tens of thousands of struggling readers in our state getting the support they need much earlier in their schooling experience. Additionally, this will provide the tools educators have long been looking for to teach literacy much more effectively.  
    • If you want to learn more about the Science of Reading, visit this page. To read why Natalie advocated for the passage of HEA 1558, read her blog.  
  • While our team was proud to play a significant role in shaping this legislation, we’re so grateful for the partnership and support of advocates from the dyslexia community, as well as numerous non-profit organizations working in K-12 education. The IDOE also deserves our collective gratitude for their leadership on this bill and their ability to leverage major philanthropic support from the Lilly Endowment. Last, none of these impactful literacy policies would’ve been possible without Rep. Jake Teshka, Chairman Bob Behning, Sen. Aaron Freeman and Chairman Jeff Raatz. We’re very grateful for their commitment to ensuring Indiana is changing our approach to teaching literacy in classrooms across the state.
Supporting the governor’s agenda item to increase the number of young people applying for 21st Century Scholarships. 
  • Over the course of the legislative session, advocates have supported streamlining the 21st Century Scholarship enrollment process, and we are thrilled the Commission for Higher Education (CHE) and the legislature came together to ensure income eligible students don’t miss the opportunity to receive a two- or four-year scholarship that pays up to 100% tuition at an eligible Indiana college or university.  
    • We worked with CHE and lawmakers to strike the requirement for parents to file an application in writing at the end of their student’s eighth-grade year from state code.  
    • We initiated an email campaign focused on streamlining the 21st Century Scholarship enrollment process, which led to over 1,800 emails sent to key lawmakers.  
    • We organized a team of student and teacher advocates at Purdue Polytech High School, who did an amazing job talking about the real-life impact of simplifying enrollment for 21st Century.  
    • We supported advocates like A.J., Eric and Lucas who wanted to share their stories online, which detailed how being 21st Century Scholarship recipients changed their lives.  Visit this page to watch their stories. 
Ending some of the high costs and fees of our juvenile justice system that disproportionately burden low-income families and increase the time youth remain under court supervision. 
  • During the legislative session, Stand Indiana and youth justice advocates worked on ensuring House Bill 1493 passed. Because of its passage, several reimbursement fees in the juvenile system will be eliminated, barring courts making a specific ruling that youth have the income to pay. Previously, it was assumed families could afford these costs, which disproportionately burdened low-income families and had the potential to increase the time youth remained under court supervision. 
    • We supported system-impacted advocates such as DontiaCarolina and Maria with their testimonies before the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee and the Senate Committee on Family and Children Services.
    • Our team worked closely with community stakeholders committed to reforming our youth justice system and are especially grateful for the Children’s Policy and Law Initiative, Marion County Commission on Youth, Indiana Legal Services and the Juvenile Law Center for their work to support HEA 1493.
    • This legislation would not have been successful without the advocacy of Chairwoman Wendy McNamara and Senator Mike Crider. Their leadership ensured the bill’s passage and we are grateful for their work not only on HEA 1493, but also their commitment to reforming our youth justice system overall.

Thank you for being a part of this important work by boldly leading the charge to create better, more equitable public schools in Indiana and end the harmful practices of our youth justice system.  

For a visual snapshot of the work Stand for Children Indiana and advocates accomplished this session, check out this blog.