TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - As a Chicago teachers' strike enters its fifth day, leaders of teachers' organizations in the Wabash Valley warn that the issues at the center of Chicago's strike have implications across the country.
Among the issues behind the strike: plans to tie teacher pay to student evaluations that include a heavy emphasis on student test scores.
Supporters of such plans, which are gaining popularity in states like Indiana, say that they are a good way to hold teachers accountable for the quality of students' learning. Groups like the Indiana State Teachers Association worry that current plans give too much weight to test scores.
- INDIANA STATE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION | Click here to view
"Test scores certainly can be part of that evaluation system, but certainly not the majority," said Nate Schnellenberger, president of ISTA. "Principal evaluation is important, and examples of students' work is important. I think it is important that teachers are evaluated in a holistic manner."
Meanwhile, Chicago teachers have also spoken out against growing class sizes, which they say could hurt their ability to teach students.
Others say changes in education could hurt schools' abilities to keep good teachers.
"Within the first five years of teaching, about 50 percent of people who come into the profession leave the profession," Schnellenberger said. "That tells us that there's a problem in their working conditions and often a problem in them being able to have a reasonable middle-class lifestyle."
Schnellenberger said similar strikes could begin to happen more often in the coming years as the face of education changes.
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