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Indiana lawmakers want cellphones limited in classrooms

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(The Center Square) – Indiana lawmakers want students to be better readers, and one way they want to make sure it happens is by limiting cellphone use in classrooms.

Sen. Jeff Raatz, R-Richmond, pushed two bills that build off the already passed Senate Bill 1 to target literacy and reading levels of students.

The legislation focuses on literacy instruction for students going into the third grade, and one of Raatz’s new bills focuses on students who need support after the third grade.

“Many Hoosier students’ success is at great risk because they lack core reading skills,” Raatz said. “These bills are the result of the state’s education leaders’ research and collaboration to ensure approaching and current third-graders are receiving the best literacy education and fourth- through eighth-grade students with low reading skills are not left behind.”

One reason Raatz thinks students struggle in the classroom is cellphones. His second bill requires each Indiana school to develop a policy limiting cellphone use in classrooms.

“Cellular devices can be distracting for anyone, especially students learning fundamental skills in the classroom,” Raatz said. “Senate Enrolled Act 185 would ensure our students are paying attention to lessons being taught in the classroom instead of their phones.”

The debate over cellphones in schools has been debated for years nationwide.

Nearly 77% of schools prohibited nonacademic use of cellphones or smartphones during school hours as of 2020, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Senate Enrolled Acts 6 and 185 both await Gov. Eric Holcomb’s action.

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