Public education issues remain as 2023 session continues

Thanks to citizen response, a bill to make school board elections partisan did not survive. 

As the second half of the session begins, we need more citizen interaction with lawmakers to support public schools that will struggle to survive if vouchers are expanded. Since expansion of vouchers could be included in other bills, the best approach with your legislators is simply to promote the importance of funding public schools.

HB 1637: This bill would increase scholarship amounts for students studying to become educators, particularly students of color. It would increase the William Crawford Minority Teachers scholarship from $7,500 to $10,000 and the Earline S. Rogers student teaching scholarship from $4,000 to $5,000. The bill would also establish the Next Generation Hoosier Minority Educators Scholarship Program and Fund. This is a good bill and one solution for the educator shortage crisis. 

SB 12: 
Part of a host of bills this session focused on culture war issues, this bill is another solution in search of a problem. The bill seeks to ban certain books in schools and go as far as to threaten educators with prison by removing a legal defense currently available to educators regarding material harmful to minors. For more information on this bill follow these links.

SB 486: This bill is a blatant attack on teachers and ISTA by seeking to silence teachers by removing their right to discuss student learning conditions and safety issues with school administrators. 

HB 1002: A new form of school voucher would be created under this bill, Career Scholarship Accounts (CSAs). CSAs would use school funding to provide a voucher to students who want to pursue work experiences with private companies. This is an example of further privatization of education and there are many remaining questions on how the program would work. 

HB 1608: This is yet another culture war bill that originally started as a bill modeled after Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. After being amended, the bill would ban instruction on human sexuality in grades K-3, something that already isn’t happening. The bill would also require teachers and all other school staff to inform a parent if a student requests a pronoun or name inconsistent with their biological sex.