Tag Archives: Gracie Vanover

Teachers should consult local school board to resolve funding issues

EDITORS NOTE: To read another column on the Red for Ed, check out Gracie Vanover’s story supporting the protests. Also, be sure to comment your view on these columns.

By J.D. McKay

Today, teachers all over the state took personal days to go protest at the Indiana State House. In fact, so many took personal days that over 100 of the school corporations in the state are off.  Their main source of frustration is low pay. I do not blame them. I am sure if you asked every American if they would like higher pay, nearly everyone would say yes. However, I believe teachers are going to the wrong place in search of a higher salary. 

The place teachers need to go is the school board and work their pay through their local school corporation. The local school corporation is who decides where and what the money goes to. The 2019-2021 New Albany Floyd County Schools master contract states the salary range is between $40,250 and $73,333. The state education budget is already very high. The whole budget gives 63 percent to all education — K-12, higher education, and teacher pensions — but 44 percent goes just to K-12 education. That comes out to $10,842,098,22 for all education. 

Just as a comparison, the second biggest is health and human services at 24 percent of the budget at $4,246,085,228. So if the education budget was increased, or the K-12 budget increased, there is no guarantee that money would trickle down to teachers. It could go to support staff, like my mom, who works 30 hours a week and gets no retirement from the district. It could also be funneled to athletic departments, pay for the softball field to be moved, increase support staff pay, or used to hire new teachers. 

Another rallying point from the Red for Ed supporters is that $100,000,000 is spent on testing. That stat is from 2017. The 2019 state budget shows that number to be much lower, $45,111,344. That number includes the PSAT ($1,900,000), Advanced Placement testing ($5,200,000), and remediation testing($11,711,344). The phrase used by the Indiana State Teachers Association is testing, and on page 79 of the Budget Bill, you will see that the number is $26,000,000.

I understand what teachers want. More pay and funding would make education better. However, protesting in Indianapolis is not the answer. The most logical option is to get the change to happen at the local school board. Do not be afraid to look for these stats. Look through the state budget. Contact a state senator. Do not just take what I say, or what the news says, as the truth. Make sure to research this before deciding. 

Teachers need Red for Ed

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.

 

Following Highlander Band: Sun sets on SynchroniCITY at Bands of America Grand Nationals

Photo by Tori Ables

Story by Gracie Vanover

Last weekend was the biggest marching band competition in the nation, but the Highlander band did not shy away from chasing the gold. Bands of America [BOA] Grand Nationals hosted 91 bands this weekend before narrowing it down to 38 and then to 12. 

Overall the Highlander band placed 46 out of 91 and 5th in their class, which included bands like Columbus North High School. This was the first time in the band’s history attending BOA Grand Nationals. Knowing how well they scored, the band is hopeful for their future in Grand Nationals. 

“It was a really cool experience to be the first group to represent our band at a national level,” said sophomore trumpet player Reece Ausmus. “I’m glad we got the experience to go and hopefully over the next few years we will move up in the ranks.”

With this being the band’s last performance they felt confident in their show and abilities. 

“I felt great. I was just having fun and felt super confident,” said freshman bari sax player Kimmy Fraley. 

For the seniors this was their last run of the show, especially in a competing atmosphere.

“I really enjoyed the competition and it was fun to be able to compete on the national stage. With it being the largest competition in the nation it makes you look at competing differently, like how we’re able to say that we’re the 46th best marching band in the country is a pretty nice feeling,” said senior trumpet player Eli Moody. “It was a really fun way to end the season and I’m glad we took the opportunity to go to this competition.”

While the season may be at its end, band is only just starting. This weekend marks the start of pep band for both boys’ and girls’ basketball games. The band also has many concerts throughout the year so be sure to check their website for the dates. 

Highlander band website: www.floydcentralband.org

 

FC Theater rolls perfectly into Guys and Dolls

Photo by Presley Vanover

Story by Gracie Vanover

As the lights dim sophomore Syd Landrum slips out from behind the curtain in a magnificent blue dress. As she gracefully strolls down the stairs the other Hotbox Girls follow behind. 

FC Theater opened their run of Guys and Dolls on Nov. 8 and are running the show through Nov. 17. This classic theatre production is a hit for audiences of all ages with fun musical numbers and a great storyline. 

Our story takes place in New York with streets full of gamblers and their ever-so-lovely dolls. The number one thing on most these gamblers minds however is not their beautiful dolls. It is their favorite game: craps. 

Nathan Detroit, played by freshman Haakan Packwood, is out to have his craps game but is low on funds. He and his pals decide to bet the notorious Sky Masterson, played by senior Nick Landrum, that he cannot take the missionary Sarah Brown, played by Grace Platt, to Havana. Sky gratefully accepts the deal and the race is on. 

One of the best scenes in this production is the scene including the number “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” Junior Tre Gaines brings the character of Nicely Nicely Johnson to life in this scene with his charisma. Along with the vocals of Gaines, the scene is full of color from the array of costumes and backdrop. 

Another great number from this show is “Take Back Your Mink” performed by  Miss Adelaide, played by Caroline Siegrist, and the other Hotbox Girls. This number is a silly little number full of drama and the occasional whistle from a man in the background. The song is full of playful lyrics and at the end the girls scoop everything back up and say “Well, wouldn’t you?” With even little phrases like that it gives character, especially with the high pitched girly voices. 

In this show there are two sets of vocal combos that are absolutely stunning. Platt and Siegrist in the song “Marry the Man Today” have an amazing blend and tone quality. Their voice combination pulled an astounding reaction from the audience full of clapping and whistling. 

The other amazing vocal combination is Landrum and Platt. In the song, “I’ll Know” the two sing of when and how they will know they are in love. Platt’s unique voice style plays off of Landrum’s lower tone and creates a lovely mix. “I’ll Know” is definitely one of my favorites in the show along with the song “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” mentioned beforehand. 

Overall, FC Theater’s production of Guys and Dolls is one you do not want to miss. There are still shows this weekend. Tickets range depending on seating and the age of the ticket holder. For tickets and more information go to: http://www.floydcentraltheatre.org