In a recent announcement, Indiana’s governor appears to acknowledge that our teachers need to be paid more money, but, incredibly, stated that we can’t do it now because we don’t know how. Seriously?
We know teachers’ salaries have remained stagnant since 2009. We know that Indiana pays its teachers less than any of our neighboring states. We know that there is a direct correlation between teacher pay and student performance. We know that Indiana faces a critical teacher shortage.
This Administration talks incessantly about “workforce development.” Our teachers are the first line of training for the next generation of students living and working in Indiana. While we spend millions of dollars on “training” and hours on studying “workforce” issues, the legislature and the Administration fail to acknowledge a simple basic premise: education and training begin in K-12 and we must have good teachers, and enough of them.
Ask State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick. She knows that our K-12 system can’t withstand a teacher shortage for another two or more years. Like me, she supports raising teacher pay and doing it now.
The Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus will be proposing a bill to increase teacher salaries by five percent over the next two years. Yes, we know how. And yes, we have proposals to pay for it. We call on the General Assembly to prioritize teachers. A vote against a meaningful teacher raise is a vote against Hoosier children.
If you are a teacher, please share your story with us about the lengths you must go to in order to provide for you and/or your family.