‘We are still watching’: Teachers address state lawmakers for final day of session

Education

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – As the 2020 session comes to an end, teachers across the state used Red for Ed walk-ins to highlight the need for increased public education.

“The message is still out there and the message is clear,” said Indiana State Teacher Association Director , Steve Brace. “Funding for public schools has to increase.”

Brace told WANE 15 that November’s Red for Ed rally was only the beginning. Brace said, teachers are continuing the Red for Ed effort all the way up to April 2021.

Lawmakers and Educators have been battling to find common ground when it comes to key issues facing Indiana’s public education system. Since the beginning of the 2020 session, state leaders have made multiple visits to Fort Wayne to meet with teachers, parents, and students.

State Representative David Abbot said lawmakers are doing everything they can, but it has to be taken one step at a time.

“It’s nothing more important than letting these teachers be in the classroom doing what they do best, and that is teaching,” said State Rep. David Abbott, (R-Rome City). ” We want to give them the those tools, but we have to be patient.

Teachers are pleased with some of the progress, such as:

  • the 2-year hold harmless on iLearn results
  • the elimination of standardized test from teacher evaluations
  • and the language change, making externships optional

However, public school funding is still the key issue for educators. According to data retrieved by the teacher’s union, the state took away $300 million from the public schools in 2010, and now educators want repayment.

Indiana House Democrats introduced several proposals this session that would have driven more state dollars to K-12 public schools, given teachers a one-time bonus this year, and decoupled teacher evaluations from the results of student test scores. But, holding schools, teachers and students harmless from bad education policy enacted by Republicans, about a decade ago, is the only thing that the state legislature was able to accomplish this session. Teachers have every right to be concerned. House Democrats will continue to push for policies that strengthen our public schools and empower our teachers and students

Indiana House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne)

Republican State Representative, House District 83 Christopher Judy told WANE 15 that resolving the issues should take a long term approach. He said going into the fall and summer , the government plans to look more into teacher pay.


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