EDITOR’S NOTE: To read another column on the Red for Ed, check out JD McKay’s story opposing the protests. Also, be sure to comment your view on these columns.
Story by Gracie Vanover
For the last 16 years, my mom has been everything from a special education teacher to a middle school math teacher. My sophomore year my mom transferred from her teaching job in Louisville to an Indiana school district. Although my mom loved teaching at that school more than any other school she had taught at, there was one issue that drove her to go back across the bridge. The low pay.
As of 2017 Indiana was ranked last out of all the states in teacher pay between
2002 and 2017, according to the Rockefeller Institute. Indiana also ranks 51 in the country for teacher salary raises over the last 15 years, according to Forbes. When my mom transferred to an Indiana school her pay was cut almost in half compared to what she made as a Kentucky teacher. As a mother of three kids there was no option but to leave her Indiana teaching job for financial security for her family.
Not only is teacher pay low but most of the funding increases are not going to public schools where 90 percent of Hoosier students attend. The South Bend Tribune writes that there was a “2.06 percent & 2.07 percent funding increase for public schools versus 10.30 percent & 10.47 percent funding increase for charter schools.” When almost every student in Indiana goes to a public school it makes no sense as to why funding for these schools is so low. Charter schools are less regulated by our government but they are getting better increases from the government. Although public schools are government regulated they are on the lower side of funding. When comparing the circumstances the results do not add up.
Due to these funds being so low many teachers have to supply their own classrooms with materials like pencils, paper, expo markers, and more. I could not tell you how many totes of school supplies my mom has bought on sale and stocked up so her classes would be prepared to do basic learning. According to the National Education Association teachers on average spend 459 dollars. That of course, is on the low end.
While teachers pour money from their own pockets for materials the state is spending asinine amounts of money on ridiculous means. Each school year 100 million dollars is spent on standardized testing in Indiana. Not only is it wasted on these tests, but many of these tests show faulty results. Recently Indiana introduced the ILEARN tests. Chalkbeat, an educational news website, states that students failed both the English and math portion due to skewed questions. These failed scores can impact the grading scale and even teacher pay at certain points.
Although Indiana is having school funding troubles, we are not alone in this battle.
In 2018 the Red for Ed movement was started by teachers across the country to get the funding they deserve. With school funding being low nationwide the picture is much bigger than just us and our teachers. As a nation our education is suffering, and our teachers and administrators notice that.
As students we see all of the hard work our teachers, school board members, and administrators do for us. They recognize our hard work in sports, academics, and clubs. They help us up when we are down and get us to where we need to be. They are preparing us to go off into successful careers, so why are we letting theirs suffer?
Our generation is always seeking change. We want to fix issues like pollution and climate change but we never think of the issue right in front of us every school day. As a student and daughter of a teacher I see just how much teachers go out of their way for us, and I know other students do, too.
So, stand up for the math teacher who stays after helping with homework. Stand up for the band director who spend weekends at band competitions and helping students grow as musicians. Stand up for the coach who teaches teamwork and pushes players to be their best. Stand up for the teachers, because they sacrifice so much more than time and pay for us.