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Education Lobbyists And Reporters Say Policy Focus Has Shifted Because Of COVID

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(Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Education policy experts in Indiana say public schools had to adapt quickly to teach in a pandemic last year, and because of this, policy focus has shifted.

In recent years, teacher pay and school safety issues were at the forefront, but Indiana School Board Association, executive director Terry Spradlin said we’re seeing less of that this session, and more focus on helping schools make up for learning loss and financial strains created by moving to virtual and hybrid classrooms.

“Last year ISBA tracked nearly 40 bills that were specific to school safety," Spradlin said. "To my knowledge there are no school safety bills moving presently.”

Listen: Education Legislation To Follow During The 2021 Session

WFYI’s education editor Eric Weddle said topics like teacher pay aren’t going away, and anticipates teacher pay will likely come up and budget bills are debated this year.

“The report that came out from the governor’s office estimated $600 million per year was needed to raise teacher pay and in this budget proposal from the governor and then the house budget, we don’t really see that in there.” 

Weddle said the topic is likely to at least come up given its prominence in previous years and because of COVID, the public has a new appreciation for educators.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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