Stu Bloom: Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football
Stu Bloom looks at how Indiana’s legislature and governor are doing their best to make teaching less attractive in their state.
After a decade of bashing public schools and public school teachers, Indiana “reformers” ought to be pleased with the results. The state’s teacher shortage is likely to continue because of low salaries, constant disrespect of professionals and their organizations, and the punishment of public schools unable to solve the social and economic problems of the state.
Just 1 in 6 Indiana college students who study education become teachers, report finds
Indiana schools have struggled to fill vacancies in recent years as a strong economy created jobs in other industries. Teacher pay in Indiana lags behind that of neighboring states and behind salaries of other professional careers — a problem that has attracted attention from politicians and advocates on both sides of the aisle.
Promised a raise by Governor Holcomb (see here, here, and here), teachers are still waiting while the Governor continues to mark time. The lack of salary increases is contributing to the problem.
A little over a year ago Holcomb approved pay raises for state employees of 2%-6%. He excluded teachers, of course, instead deferring to the Teacher Compensation Commission whose recommendations for an increase to an average of $60,000 he then proceeded to ignore.
Yes, the pandemic has caused economic problems for the state, but the Governor is still promising, yes, promising to raise teachers salaries. Eventually, he said, Indiana “will be one of the best in the Midwest for teacher pay.” So teachers will get their hopes up and continue to wait. Think: Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football…
Meanwhile, the supermajority in the Indiana General Assembly (IGA) is doing what they have done annually since 2011…diverting public tax money from the state’s constitutionally mandated public schools to increase the church and state merger in the form of private and parochial school vouchers.
Responding to the continued disrespect of teachers, and the consistent move towards privatization, Avon Community Schools Superintendent, Scott Wyndham tweeted,
Could more money help attract young people to a career in education? Perhaps, but it won’t happen if the supermajority in the legislature has anything to say about it. If passed by the IGA, one-third of this year’s increase for education will go to the 5% of students who don’t attend public schools. Until we stop moving public money to religious institutions, we’re not going to be able to attract new teachers (or fully fund public schools).
Governor Holcomb has joined with the Republicans in the state legislature to shrink the pool of Indiana’s qualified teachers. Without an incentive to seek a career in education where will our future teachers come from?