Teachers have a statement to make

Downtown rally on Nov. 19 causes township to close

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Teachers have a statement to make

staff report

Educators are tired of what has happened to their profession in the last decade.

From more funding going to charter schools and vouchers to indecisions on state testing and how that affects their teacher ratings, the profession has taken numerous hits.

That is why a large group of teachers plan to show up at the Indiana Statehouse for a Red for Ed rally on November 19. Enough teachers from Wayne Township had requested that day off as a personal day that the township school board decided this week to give the township the day off that day.

“We need to show the General Assembly that we’ve had enough with the attacks on public education,” social studies teacher Ron Browning said. “We need them to realize that we refuse to let things continue down this path, where public schools are constantly defunded and demonized. Our students deserve an opportunity for a quality education.”

We need to show the General Assembly that we’ve had enough with the attacks on public education.”

— Ron Browning

November 19 was selected for this Red for Ed rally because that is a planning day at the Statehouse and all state legislators are required to be at the Statehouse to plan for the 2020 legislative session.

The rally will include public statements from teachers, teachers grading papers in the Statehouse hallways and the chance for some teachers to speak with legislators. The rallt is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and will end at 2 p.m. Anyone is welcome to attend.

“I hope to draw attention from the media and legislature to the declining support of public education in our state,” social studies chairperson Shannon Singleton said. “I hope to show our legislators and voters (via the media coverage) that things need to change and the future of our students is worth it.”

The Indiana State Teachers Association is in charge of the rally. They have stated four goals for the upcoming legislative session:

  1. At least $60k average teacher salary (currently indiana is lowest in the midwest at $53k)
  2. Hold fully harmless students, teachers, and schools on iLearn scores
  3. Repeal 15 hour externship requirements for teacher licenses
  4. Halt the “[post-graduation status” as a means to grade schools.

The main reason teachers want to attend this rally is students.

I hope to show our legislators and voters (via the media coverage) that things need to change and the future of our students is worth it.”

— Shannon Singleton

“As students of the public education system, they directly benefit from any changes we can pressure the state to make regarding public education, such as more funding or less emphasis on testing,” Singleton said.

“Public education impacts everyone,” Browning added. “Public education is one of the cornerstones of our republic. Leaders like Horace Mann – who called education the ‘great equalizer’ – realized long ago that a democratic republic cannot survive unless we have an educated populace. Even if you aren’t in school, even if you don’t have children in school, it is vital to fund public education. Without it, production, innovation and participation in democracy will fall. Without it, poverty and incarceration rates rise.”

Browning also has some thoughts about why education has come under fire in recent years.

“Privatization is the goal in my opinion,” he said. “Many people stand to make a lot of money from private and charter schools. You can’t make money off public schools. It’s the same reason our jails and prisons have been privatized.

“Basically, they defund public schools for over a decade, even funneling tax money to private schools through voucher programs. Then schools cannot retain teachers, can’t recruit new teachers, and have to fire support staff. Class sizes rise, much-needed support services are dropped, and then they claim public schools are failing. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

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