|INDIANAPOLIS – Statehouse Republicans love to crow about Indiana’s “burgeoning” state-funded preschool program. Fact is, the program is fueling inequality where some Hoosier kids have access and some don’t.
More than 70 percent of Indiana’s counties have seen zero pre-K investment from the state. In nine Indiana counties, there are zero high-quality pre-K programs. In a recent report, Indiana ranked second to last in access to quality preschool.
From Early Learning Indiana Policy Brief: Indiana Lags Behind In Pre-K Access
The analysis also finds that Indiana is ranks 43rd out of 44 states that offer state-funded pre-K programming and is the only state with eligibility standards tied to work and education requirements.
“Access to high-quality, state-funded pre-K should not stop at a county line,” writes Dr. Karen Ruprecht, Early Learning Indiana’s Director of Research and Practice and briefing author. “Much like roads, pre-K should be treated as a critical piece of our state’s infrastructure and economy, a piece that helps ensure our future success.”
High quality preschool is a critical foundation in developing Indiana’s skilled workforce. The uneven distribution of state resources is unfairly putting some Hoosier four-year-olds at a disadvantage. So what are Governor Holcomb and Statehouse Republicans doing to address this shortfall? How are they equipping providers with the tools they need to become high-quality options? When will Governor Holcomb and Statehouse Republicans admit their approach is leaving some kids behind and commit to a statewide model?
INDIANAPOLIS – President Donald Trump’s budget includes millions of dollars in proposed cuts to critical teacher training and after-school programs that, if passed, would be felt in classrooms across Indiana. The Trump budget is so callous and clueless that a member of his own political party, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick, called it, “devastating”, “concerning” and “not the best course of action”.
From StateImpact Indiana: Indiana Schools Would Lose $56 Million Under Trump Education Budget
“Is it concerning? Absolutely,” McCormick says. “We need as much money to flow into our traditional public schools, and our public charter schools that are struggling, [as] we can get there.”
“Some of those after school programs are a vital part of what we’re doing,” McCormick says. “Just to eliminate it, I don’t think, is the best course of action.”
McCormick says she is also concerned about the move to eliminate funds for teacher training and retainment.
“That would be devastating,” McCormick says.”
Trump’s draconian cuts would mean more kids packed into classrooms and fewer resources to train and retain teachers. The Supporting Effective Instruction grants on Trump’s chopping block are used in Indiana schools to reduce class sizes and provide continuous, ongoing training that help teachers prepare to instruct students. The grants are a critical tool in recruiting and training teachers with experience and strong credentials at high-risk schools.
From StateImpact Indiana: Indiana Could See Millions Cut From Federal Teacher Training Funds
“Those districts really do need those dollars to support and to retain teachers,” Cole says.”
If the Trump education budget becomes law, 20,000 Hoosier kids could be out of before and after-school programs currently offered through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.
From Indianapolis Star: Trump budget would cut programs for 20,000 Indiana kids
“The $20 million in cuts statewide, which would eliminate programs for low-income students offered through the Boys & Girls Clubs, the YMCA, school corporations, parks departments and community centers, suggest that “poorer folks are being devalued,” Whitten said.
For thousands of children in Central Indiana, the 21st Century funding means a safe place to go after school, where they get tutoring, mentoring, health and fitness education and a meal — things they might not get regularly at home. The goal is to improve academic outcomes in the short and long term. And while opponents say there’s no proof such programs work, a 2013-14 Indiana University study says otherwise. [Emphasize added].”
The Trump education budget: More crowded classrooms, fewer safe places for high-risk kids and less training for teachers. Hoosier teachers, parents and students can’t afford it.
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody issued the following statement concerning the tragic events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Today I traveled more than 200 miles across our state to attend an event with nearly 100 Indiana Democrats. Along the way, I traveled through several communities, large and small, where good and decent Hoosiers live. At the same time, hatred, bigotry and violence ensued in Charlottesville, Virginia because good and decent people there decided to fight back against the very worst characters among us who insist that a divided society is better than a united, diverse one. At the event I attended, each of the speakers spoke about the importance of inclusion – and even more importantly – action to keep pushing back against vile and indecent actions. As I go to sleep in Bloomington, IN, my thoughts tonight are with those in another college town who are working to find peace. We must condemn these acts in the clearest terms: as hateful, as racist, as a direct challenge to the core principles of our democracy, and we pray for those families affected by this tragedy and countless others that have gone unseen before it.”
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody issued the following statement after a new study found that a double-digit spike in premiums on individual insurance policies in 2018 can be attributed to President Donald Trump’s actions.
“Congressional Republicans, including Congressman Luke Messer and Congressman Todd Rokita, have claimed that they’ve spoken out against rising premiums. Turns out the underlying source of those increases lies at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. The fallout from the GOP’s intentional sabotage of the Affordable Care Act will mean tens of thousands of Hoosiers paying higher premiums. That’s unacceptable. It’s time for Republicans in Congress to drop the political games and work across the aisle to improve our nation’s health care system.”
Associated Press: Study: Trump actions trigger health premium hikes for 2018
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration’s own actions are triggering double-digit premium increases on individual health insurance policies purchased by many consumers, a nonpartisan study has found.
The analysis released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that mixed signals from President Donald Trump have created uncertainty “far outside the norm,” leading insurers to seek higher premium increases for 2018 than would otherwise have been the case.
The report comes with Republicans in Congress unable to deliver on their promise to repeal and replace the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. Trump, meanwhile, insists lawmakers try again. The president says “Obamacare” is collapsing, but he’s also threatened to give it a shove by stopping billions of dollars in payments to insurers. Some leading Republicans are considering fallback measures to stabilize markets.
Researchers from the Kaiser foundation looked at proposed premiums for a benchmark silver plan across major metropolitan areas in 20 states and Washington, D.C. Overall, they found that 15 of those cities will see increases of 10 percent or more next year.
The highest: a 49 percent jump in Wilmington, Delaware. The only decline: a 5 percent reduction in Providence, Rhode Island.
About 10 million people who buy policies through HealthCare.gov and state-run markets are potentially affected, as well as another 5 million to 7 million who purchase individual policies on their own.
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Democratic Party Senior Media Strategist Will Baskin-Gerwitz issued the following statement today after Congressman Todd Rokita finally announced his entry into the Republican primary for next year’s U.S. Senate seat:
“After tripping over his feet with a string of gaffes and head-scratching moves, Congressman Rokita has finally reached the GOP primary’s starting line. Over the course of this year alone, he’s shown he’s out of touch with Indiana when voting to raise health care premiums for the average Hoosier by thousands of dollars annually, and out of touch with reality when he sided with United Airlines in a passenger brutality case.
Instead of figuring out how best to serve Hoosiers, Congressman Rokita has spent his time turning his fight with Congressman Messer into the nastiest primary in the country. With little to separate the two candidates on the issues, both men instead have chosen to focus on each other and their personal flaws instead of how they can best serve Hoosiers. While voters want to see commonsense solutions from their representatives, all Congressman Rokita has been able to give them is a wave of vitriolic personal attacks.”