INDIANAPOLIS – State Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick today released an EducationFIRST packet, outlining critical policy actions needed during the upcoming legislative session. Including an infographic, legislative briefs, and a letter addressed to state legislators, Superintendent McCormick identified five core issues facing Indiana’s K-12 ecosystem, along with the consequences for leaving core issues unaddressed, and their proposed legislative remedies.
“Throughout my term as Indiana’s last elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction, I have been committed to supporting student and educator-focused policy,” said Dr. McCormick. “Although Indiana is K-12 education policy-heavy, with little regard for implementation monitoring, I remain optimistic that sound education policies, designed with the best interest of students and educators in mind, are possible. EducationFIRST outlines the critical policy actions needed for our state to be successful, regardless of who fills the seat of Indiana’s top education leader.”
Funding is the first core issue identified in EducationFIRST. Funding Indiana’s K-12 schools must remain a top priority. While state revenues will be down leading into the 2021 budget session, legislators must remain invested in the future of Indiana’s children and continue to provide them with the tools necessary to succeed – whether in the workforce or in their postsecondary endeavors.
Inclusivity is the second core issue identified in EducationFIRST. An inclusive K-12 environment is vital to the success and safety of all students and staff. Indiana legislators must be committed to creating laws that provide a safe learning and work environment where all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or marital status.
Reliable Connectivity is the third core issue identified in EducationFIRST. While reliable connectivity for all students has been an issue for some time, COVID-19 has brought it to the forefront. Addressing Indiana’s digital divide will increase engagement, and afford all students access to learning opportunities.
Single Accountability is the fourth core issue identified in EducationFIRST. Moving Indiana from two to one accountability system ensures clarity and transparency, as it relates to the performance of our state’s schools. Indiana’s current system excludes certain children the federal Every Student Succeeds Act system requires be included. Moving to one accountability system would allow schools to best address areas of need, while eliminating confusion for educators, parents, and communities.
Tighter Parameters for Charter and Choice is the fifth core issue identified in EducationFIRST. Implementing tighter parameters for charter and choice schools makes sound fiscal sense and ensures better accountability measures. Legislators must enact laws that increase transparency for parents and teachers regarding the quality of both a charter school and its authorizer, while promoting sound fiscal responsibility.
For more information or to view the complete EducationFIRST packet, please visit: www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/news/packet-educationfirst.pdf.