Thousands of teachers and education advocates rally at Indiana Statehouse

Teachers and education advocates took over the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday as they rallied to draw attention to several issues impacting schools and students.

Posted: Nov 19, 2019 2:51 PM
Updated: Nov 19, 2019 7:08 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHI) - Thousands of teachers and education advocates took over the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday for the 'Red for Ed Action Day' Rally. 

It coincides with Organization Day, in which legislators talk about agenda topics for the upcoming legislative session. Teachers from several Wabash Valley schools attended. A sea of red spilled out of the Statehouse as educators used their 'teach voices' to get the attention of lawmakers.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE | VIGO COUNTY SCHOOL CORPORATION AND OTHERS CALL SNOW DAY ON RED FOR ED ACTION DAY

Vigo County, North Central Parke, South Vermillion, Washington Community, Southwest Parke, and North Daviess schools were not in session Tuesday so teachers could attend the rally.

"We're here to support public education, and we're not going to give up until our voices are heard," said Shelly Gardner, a Vigo County school teacher. She hopes lawmakers are listening to their message on issues like teacher pay, standardized testing, and professional development requirements.

State Senator, Jon Ford, says he's fighting for those princibles, "For years, I've carried a bill that would decouple standardized testing with teacher evaluations. So hopefully, this will help me get that bill through and give us some momentum on that."

INDIANA STATE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION TALKING POINTS

  • Invest budget surplus in teacher compensation
    • Lawmakers must demonstrate a commitment to addressing teacher pay by using the state’s
      budget surplus to begin increasing base salaries for teachers.
    • The state has accumulated a $2+ billion surplus and an additional $419 million surplus from
      last year’s budget. The legislature should use a portion of these funds to continue the work to
      make teacher pay competitive in the region.

  • Hold students, teachers and communities harmless from I-LEARN
    • Low I-LEARN scores don’t reflect the hard work Hoosier kids and teachers are doing in our
      classrooms. Test scores certainly shouldn’t determine how our communities are labeled by
      accountability grades.
    • Hold harmless should not only include letter grades for schools and teacher evaluations, but also
      for school intervention and state takeover of schools. The scores at this stage are questionable
      and should be used only as a benchmark - nothing more.

  • Repeal PGP/externship requirements
    • Changes under HEA 1002 require teachers in traditional public schools using a PGP for
      renewing their license to complete 15 of the 90 PGP points in one or more of a series of program
      options focused on career navigation or economic development – including corporate
      externships.
    • This new requirement has placed an undue burden on teachers and is misplaced in its
      implementation. Relevancy of this requirement aside, real feasibility issues exist in many areas
      of the state to comply with the options listed in the law. The PGP licensure language in HEA
      1002 should be repealed.

GOVERNOR ERIC HOLCOMB STATEMENT ON EDUCATION RALLY

“Today is a great opportunity for educators, families and community members to express their voice at the people’s house. I remain committed to finding long-term sustainable solutions to increase teacher compensation. That’s why I created the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission and signed our recent two-year budget that included historic levels of increased funding for K-12. As we continue to seek systemic improvements, it’s essential we retain and attract great teachers to ensure Hoosier students receive the best education our state can offer.”

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