Civics program cuts staff

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The staff of the civics education program of the Indiana Bar Foundation will be restructured due to decreases in IOLTA funding available for next year, the IBF announced today.

Overall, Interest on Lawyer Trust Account funds, which have been accumulated from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010, and will be distributed for budgets that will cover Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2011, are down 55 percent in Indiana compared to IOLTA funds available for programs for the 2010 budget year. It has not yet been announced how the funds will be distributed to Indiana’s 14 pro bono districts.

Starting Jan. 1, 2011, the three-person civics education staff will be restructured to be run by one person who will receive additional support from other members of the IBF staff, including IBF executive director Chuck Dunlap.

In the last two years, the program has seen its IOLTA funds go from $160,000 to $90,000 to $0 for 2011, he wrote in a memo to educators in the civics program.

The current staff of Erin Braun, Eric Steele, and Kyle Burson has run the program as a team for the last two years. In that time, the We The People mock congressional hearing team representing Indiana has consistently placed in the top 10 in the country. Since the program moved to the IBF six years ago, it has placed in the top 10 five times.

The organization has also enjoyed a strong reputation among We The People programs around the country.

Because of this loss of funding, the program will also no longer organize institutes for teachers from Indiana and bordering states to teach educators about how to bring civics education programs to their classrooms, including We The People and Project Citizen programs.

As for the three team members, as of Sept. 10, Steele will begin a position with the We The People program in Washington, D.C.

While memos from Braun and Dunlap to educators involved with the IBF’s civics education program said it was not an easy decision, Braun and Burson have decided to leave rather than continue in the newly restructured program.

While Braun and Burson were unsure where they’ll be after Dec. 31, both have expressed an interest in continuing work with civics education. For instance, earlier this week, Braun started a graduate program at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School for Public and Environmental Affairs and has already started work on a project about civics education.

Educators will have a chance to weigh in on how the program can be restructured during a conference call with the IBF civics education staff Sept. 7.

How the decrease in IOLTA funds for 2011 will affect other programs, including pro bono districts, is not yet known but will be reported in a future issue of Indiana Lawyer.

Rehearing "IBF provides classes for educational programs" IL Aug. 4-17, 2010


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.