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Democratic Leader joins Democrats on the House Education Committee applauding $111 million education investment

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INDIANAPOLIS – The State of Indiana joined Lilly Endowment Inc. to announce the largest-ever financial investment in literacy. The combined investment totals up to $111 million and will support early literacy development using proven and tested strategies aligned with the Science of Reading. According to the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) the state will: 

●     Support the deployment of instructional coaches to schools throughout Indiana;

●     Offer stipends to teachers who participate in professional development focused on the Science of Reading;

●     Provide targeted support for students who need the most help in improving their reading skills; and

●     Create a literacy center focused on Science of Reading strategies.

“Literacy is the cornerstone of all future education and professional endeavors,” House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) said. “Reading is powerful and the significance of an $111 million funding expenditure should not be lost on any of us. House Democrats remain steadfast in the commitment to providing a high-quality education to every student from cradle to career. Our guiding principle as a caucus is that every Hoosier deserves well-rounded, research-based literacy opportunities regardless of where they live, their parents' income level or the color of their skin.” 

Indiana continues to grapple with the effects of chronic underinvestment in traditional K-12 public schools which educate over 90% of Hoosier students. Results from the statewide third grade assessment indicate that nearly one in five Hoosier students have not yet mastered foundational reading skills. Additionally, in the year of 2022, only 40.7 percent of Indiana third graders and 41.1 percent of Indiana fourth graders passed the English/Language Arts portion of ILEARN. Achievement gaps widen with minority and low-income students, per the 2019 NAEP results: only 17 percent of Black students, 24 percent of Hispanic students and 24 percent of students from low-income households scored proficient or better.

“Every kid deserves to learn how to read, but right now, the state is failing students of color and low-income students. This funding is an important first step in improving literacy rates of all Hoosier students,” Ranking Democrat on the Indiana House Education Committee Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary) said. “Literacy is the gateway to accessing all forms of knowledge and setting up our students for a bright and prosperous academic career.  We have been pushing to improve literacy funding for years because research has shown that it truly makes a difference. I am glad that we are finally being listened to and our students’ needs will be met. Increased funding and support for reading programs will be crucial in closing that gap and investing in the academic, professional and civic success of our state’s youth.”

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