Teacher salaries in Indiana have remained stagnant since 2009, which is essentially a pay cut when accounting for inflation. And Indiana ranks far lower than our neighboring Midwestern states for how well we pay our teachers. For years,Indiana has focused on building our future workforce but we have neglected to address one key part of that plan: our educators. Teachers are the first trainers to our students, prepping them for a multitude of jobs that they will one day pursue. It has been proven that there is a direct correlation between increasing teacher pay and positive student performance. Imagine what our next generation of workers could do if we paid our teachers adequately for the important work they do.

For each of these reasons, I along with my colleagues in the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus, will push for approval by the General Assembly on a bill I am authoring in the 2019 legislative session. I am proposing we use this budget year to increase teacher salaries by two and a half percent each year over the next two years for a total five percent salary raise for our valued teachers.

The Indiana State Teacher’s Association as well as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction have already expressed they are supportive of legislative efforts to raise teacher pay and understand the necessity of such a proposal.

I promise to fight until the very end to ensure our teachers are adequately compensated so that our children are ready to contribute to our state’s growing business climate. I promise to do all I can to make the teaching profession one that many students entering college want to pursue to end the teacher shortage crisis in this state. I respect and admire all of the hardworking teachers I have had the pleasure of learning from, meeting in a professional setting as well as those who have taught my own children. I think that each and every one of them deserve a raise, do you?