INDIANAPOLIS – The following statement was issued today by Stand for Children Indiana’s Executive Director Justin Ohlemiller after the passage of House Enrolled Act 1558, along with funding in the state budget for early literacy grants. The legislative package, in its entirety, aims to dramatically improve the state’s approach to classroom instruction related to reading. The legislation is now headed to Governor Holcomb for signature.
“We are grateful to the Indiana General Assembly for their work to address our state’s literacy crisis through House Enrolled Act 1558 and the creation of a $20 million annual grant fund to improve classroom instruction grounded in the science of reading. It is nothing short of a tragedy that only 31% of Hoosier students are proficient readers, according to NAEP data. The system has failed so many of our young people for generations, relying on unproven – and even harmful – instructional approaches to reading. We’ve also failed our educators too, having sent them into classrooms without the training and knowledge needed to help struggling readers.
“We cannot address the huge gaps in educational opportunity until we ensure all children have a strong foundation in literacy. We know from decades of brain research that there is a right way and wrong way to teach children to read. House Enrolled Act 1558 sets the stage for schools to use curricula and instructional practices rooted in science. The bill and as well as the grant fund support the ongoing work of Secretary Katie Jenner and the Indiana Department of Education to give educators the tools and training they need to help struggling readers much more effectively.
“Stand for Children Indiana is so appreciative for the work and leadership of legislators like bill author Rep. Jake Teshka, bill sponsor Sen. Aaron Freeman, Chairman Bob Behning, Chairman Jeff Raatz, Sen. Linda Rogers and Sen. Andrea Hunley. Their diligent work will ensure Indiana’s approach to literacy gets a significant boost from the policy outlined this legislative session. We also want to thank Secretary Jenner for her leadership on the issue, as well as the Lilly Endowment for their significant investment in increasing evidence-based reading practices in Indiana classrooms.”
About Stand: Stand for Children Indiana is a unique catalyst for education equity and racial justice, to create a brighter future for us all.