November 21, 2019

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Indiana, Latest News

ROUNDUP: Holcomb’s Inaction On Teacher Shortage Turns Statehouse “Red For Ed”

Gov. Holcomb’s failure to address the teacher shortage has been front page news in Indiana these past two days.

15,000 teachers rallied on the statehouse Tuesday, calling on Holcomb to address the teacher shortage. Educators are earning 16 percent less than a decade ago and are tired of Holcomb’s inaction.

Teachers are angry and turned that anger into a sea of red at the statehouse. They sent a warning to Holcomb, shouting, “We will vote! We will vote!”

Here are the front pages from Indiana the past two days:

 

Read what outlets in Indiana are saying about the teacher protests:

The Statehouse File’s John Krull: The day the Statehouse turned red

As I wandered through the crowd and talked with the red-clad protestors, certain phrases popped up again and again.

Parents wanted to know that their children’s education mattered as much to state officials as the educations of the students in charter or private schools.

Students want to know that their futures matter.

Teachers want to know that their work is valued.

Everyone used the same word. They used it again and again.

The word was “respect.”

They said they were tired of having public schools and public-school families slapped around and disparaged. They were sick of being told that the only people who shouldn’t have a voice in determining Indiana’s policies are teachers.

Northwest Indiana Times: ‘Enough is enough’: Teachers rally in Indianapolis for Red for Ed Day of Action

More than 15,000 public education advocates gathered at the steps of the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday morning to send a message to lawmakers at the ceremonial start of the 2020 legislative session.

“We need to make things more equitable around the state,” said Rina Horgan, a fifth-grade teacher in the School City of Hammond. “That’s why I’m here — to fight for our kids.”

In a statewide Red for Ed Action Day, educators from across Indiana traveled to the state capitol Tuesday morning to call for salary increases, action to “hold harmless” teachers following this spring’s ILEARN exam, and a repeal of a 2019 state law requiring teachers to attain 15 hours of professional “externships” in order to renew state licenses.

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“We are here because we are in critical need of funding,” said Joanne DeFries, a Hebron teacher and president of the Professional Educators of Porter County. “We are fighting this fight together, union and administration, because something has to change for small, rural schools.”

Educators from both small, rural districts and large, urban schools echoed a common refrain.

“We’re lacking pencils, we’re lacking paper. I spent about $400 at the beginning of the year trying to get my classroom together so it could be a wonderful environment for our students,” said Brenda Johnson, a fifth-grade teacher in the state takeover Gary Community School Corp. “I shouldn’t have to pay for paper, pencils, posters, crayons, markers. We shouldn’t have to pay for those things. The pay is not good enough.”

CNHI News Indiana: Thousands of teachers rally at Statehouse

Thousands of teachers from across the state filled the Statehouse, chanting “Put kids first!” at legislators arriving for Organization Day, the start of the 2020 legislative session.

Teachers rallied for better pay, to be held harmless from poor test scores and against a professional development externship requiring 15 hours spent learning about their community’s workforce development needs.

“We have 15,000 educators and community supports who are signed up for Red for Ed,” Jennifer McCormick, the superintendent for public instruction, said during a brief press conference. “We are 50 out of 50 states in teacher increases since 2002 but yet we are a state that is sitting on a surplus of $400 million and reserves of $2.3 billion. … We are not asking for the moon; we’re asking for what our students and our schools deserve to operate efficiently.”