A response to HB 1134 from a Playworks Leader

  1. Updates
Playworks Indiana Program Director Traneisha English volunteered to speak during the hearing for House Bill 1134, but never got called to say these powerful words against the bill.

The bill, which has been widely reported on as “CRT-inspired legislation,” would have had a detrimental outcome on education in Indiana. Playworks is happy that the bill did not make it out of the Senate and will continue to stand up for the children and educators of our community. Read the statement Traneisha prepared to share below.

“Hello, My name is Traneisha English and I have spent my professional career working with Hoosier Youth, previously with Boys and Girls Clubs and now as the Program Director for Playworks Indiana. I lead a team responsible for facilitating play for more than 10,000 Hoosier elementary school children. 

I’m very concerned with the language in House Bill 1134 and am asking for you to vote no. This bill is not in the best interest of our students.

I’m concerned as a professional in the education sector, as a future mother, for my sister and friends who are educators, and about the impact, this bill will have on the kids in our community.

Developing social-emotional skills such as communication and conflict resolution are a necessary part of student development. They are foundational to learning and critical for our youth to become productive civic-minded Hoosiers. 

Students are experiencing tremendous social and emotional developmental gaps as a result of the pandemic. When kids practice these skills, they’re learning about themselves and practicing navigating a community, like a classroom. 

Many students in our state are not able to socialize at an age-appropriate level.  I have repeatedly seen this. For example, I observed a third-grade class struggling to play a game we traditionally use to teach problem-solving, decision-making, and self-management skills to kindergartners.

Imagine a young student in this class who does not take losing well and has multiple emotional breakdowns or outbursts throughout the day. These behaviors are disruptive to the learning environment and could be seen as threatening as they grow older. 

Under this bill, a parent could remove their child from an opportunity to practice these skills with their peers and trained professionals. The rest of the class would be solving conflicts effectively and practicing communication, and this student won’t have the skills to navigate their classroom. They might feel less connected and less supported as the community moves forward and they don’t have the skills they need to engage. The student will still need to develop these skills in life, but this decision could inhibit their academic journey, interpersonal relationships, and ability to navigate other communities as they grow up. This bill will make it harder for this child to get support

The effects of this bill will have long-lasting negative outcomes for individual students and place an unrealistic, unsustainable burden on educators.

My sister is an educator. She often shares about the last-minute adaptations she implements to make sure she is fully supporting the learning of ALL her students. This bill has my sister worried. Worried about how she will educate her students to meet their needs. She worries about how she will teach on topics like the Civil Rights movement, the Holocaust, and more, and if doing so will put her job at risk. Since learning of HB1134 my sister and many of her colleagues are considering moving outside of Indiana to teach or leaving the profession altogether. Indiana is already facing a devastating teacher shortage – this bill will make it worse. We must support our teachers if we want to support our students and our education system. 

Part of the intent of this bill is to increase transparency and engagement opportunities for parents with their child’s education. However, this part of the system is not broken. Educators have students’ best interests in mind. We must trust our educators. 

Vote no to HB1134.”


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