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The Fight To Increase Pay For Hoosier Teachers

Hoosier lawmakers are discussing ways to better compensate teachers. (WFIU/WTIU News)

 

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Many Hoosiers agree that teachers in Indiana aren’t paid enough, but that agreement ends when it comes to finding a solution.

One report estimates that the state needs to invest at least $535 million to make up for two decades of teacher salaries failing to keep up with inflation.

Indiana lawmakers are looking at teacher pay in the 2019 legislative session and have proposed a variety of resolutions to tackle the problem.

Such plans range from installing a minimum wage for teachers to increasing incentives for teachers who take on additional responsibilities, like mentoring junior colleagues.

Join us this week on Noon Edition as we discuss different proposals to better pay teachers in Indiana.

Guests

Rachel Hathaway, Indiana Program Manager with Teach Plus

Dan Holub, Executive Director of the Indiana State Teachers Association

Bob Behning, State Representative for Indiana House District 91 (R-Indianapolis), Chair of the House Education Committee

Tonya Pfaff, State Representative for Indiana House District 43 (D-Terre Haute), Member of the House Education Committee, and math teacher at Terre Haute North Vigo High School

Conversation

Dan Holub thinks that the teacher pay statistics for Indiana are troubling.

“Stand for Children recently came out with a report that indicates that, since 2000, we’ve dropped 15 percent in terms of pay for teachers,” Holub says. “We’re ranked 35th in the nation now in teacher pay. You can cut it different ways, you can adjust for inflation, and so forth, but the trends are the same. We’re seeing real declines over the recent years in teacher compensation in Indiana.”

Rachel Hathaway says that teacher pay is a real, complex issue with many facets.

“Teachers want increased pay. I’ve got one teacher, Shelby in Evansville, she’s got a master’s degree but she still has to work two jobs to make ends meet. That’s a reality, that shouldn’t be the case,” Hathaway says. “It’s not just about pay. It’s also about how we support the profession and raise the respect of being a teacher.”

Bob Behning described some of the rationale behind his bill that would govern how schools spend money on administrative costs versus classroom and teacher expenses.

“There has been a pretty significant flip in terms of the amount that went into the classroom historically and then the amount that’s being spent on administration now,” Behning says. “The numbers have almost flipped exactly.”

Tonya Pfaff responded to a caller critical of basing teacher compensation on student performance and spoke about how perception of the profession of teaching has not kept up with its importance.

“It’s completely ridiculous, children have changed, I’ve been teaching for 25 years and students are so different from they were. So many more distractions, so many social issues, there’s just a lot going on,” she says. “And we have not, as teachers, as a profession, been treated very professionally and we’ve had a lack of support. So this concept of tying our pay to the performance of our students is ridiculous and that’s one of the reasons I decided to run [for office].”

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