ICPE Day of Action: Fight for our Democracy!

by | Feb 25, 2024 | 2024 Legislative Session, Day of Action 2024, ICPE News, Indiana Legislature, Statehouse Day of Action

Many thanks to all of those who took the time to head to our event in Indianapolis on Presidents Day! We were thrilled and energized to have so many people at our 2024 ICPE Day of Action at the Statehouse last Monday. We had wonderful speakers who shared their various perspectives on why we fight for public education, for the schools our children deserve, and, perhaps most important of all, how this fight is really a fight for our democracy.

Our amazing lobbyist, general counsel, and co-founder, Mr. Joel Hand did a wonderful job of being the MC for our event–as always. Joel spoke of different bills that have died or moved on in the statehouse, but the most concerning of all is SB 255. Although dead for this session, Senator Mishler promises it will return next session. The massive expansion of privatization that this ESA (Education Scholarship Accounts) would create sends a chill down our spines. Please read our co-founder Vic Smith’s Statehouse Notes for more information. We don’t want to be Arizona.

The speakers started off with our friend GlenEva Dunham, president of AFT, a strong and passionate voice on behalf of teachers, children, and our public schools. We know how vital our teachers are to the health and future of our public education system.

Meaghan Chien, president-elect of the Indiana School Social Work Association spoke passionately about the things our kids need in order to thrive. We were thankful to share our Day of Action with INSSWA and happy to have so many of them at our event. It takes a village to care for our children and we are thankful for these social workers who do so much.

The commanding and energizing voice of Pastor Dr. Ramon Batts of the advocacy group Pastors for Indiana Children encouraged us to continue this fight for public schools and Indiana’s children: “We are not in a losing battle–we are in a BATTLE!” It was a hopeful message to keep us moving.

We were so happy to have Lafayette middle school teacher and vice president of Indiana State Teachers Association, Jennifer Smith-Margraf, to speak for teachers: “We are at a crossroads. We can continue down a path of policies that undermine our schools, or we can pivot back to what works: supporting and trusting our teachers, fully and fairly funding public schools, and restoring the rights that allow all educators to advocate for their students and themselves.”

Dr. Sheron Fraser-Burgess, professor of Social Foundations and Multicultural Education at Ball State University, grounded us in the history of public education and its essential importance for our democracy.

Carmel Schools dad, Jim May, spoke about how he got involved in the fight to protect his kids’ schools and the importance of public school parents’ voices and involvement in advocating for public schools.

Indiana PTA was well represented by Rachel Osadczuk Burke who shared her personal story about the IREAD-3 and the damaging nature of a high stakes test and retention.

Pike Township Trustee Annette Johnson spoke of the threat of charter schools to our community public schools and why she fights so that schools will be for kids, not business or markets.

Finally, the Pastor David Greene of The Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis and the Equity Coalition closed us out with strong and inspirational words for us to fight for our kids, our public schools, and our democracy. “An attack on public education is an attack on our democracy. And guess what? We must all get involved!” Amen!

We know that strong public schools nurture strong children to be strong citizens of our democracy. And a strong public education system, participatory democracy, inclusive and equitable and accessible, makes for a strong country. If you are concerned with the attack on the teachers, the attack on public school funding, the attack on our historically marginalized and most vulnerable children, then please donate to our organization and get involved. Democracy, as they say, is not a spectator sport.

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