Video by Abigail Chovan and Myla Tissander
Video by Abigail Chovan and Myla Tissander
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.
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.
By Shari Rowe
In the past year, teachers in multiple states have had walkouts over funding and money. Kentucky is one such state that has had walkouts in the past year, protesting more specifically over their pensions being planned to be taken away.
“They so definitely affected having school in session. I’d rather support my teachers and graduate a few days late than not support them and complain about my senior year ending later. I do want to get out of here but at same time I’d rather be helpful and I want to be there for them,” said J Graham Brown School senior Max Palmer.
In addition, there are laws against walkouts in Indiana as well as in other states.
“It is illegal for teachers to strike in Indiana; however, there’s been other states where it’s illegal for teachers to strike,” said English teacher Kristi Charbonneau, “and it hasn’t stopped teachers because some schools are so underfunded that they can’t afford chairs that aren’t broken.”
Some of these obstacles, like the Kentucky pensions, are tackled by teachers in the form of walkouts, as well as other ways of protesting.
“A sick-out is where so many people call in sick that districts have to cancel school. I have heard we have to do this in the state of Kentucky because striking or walking out is not an option,” said Stuart Pepper Middle School counselor Aimee Fackler, who has participated in the walkouts at her school.
In Kentucky, which has been having walkouts since spring of 2018, the issues also lead back to funding for schools, students, and teachers. Many teachers in the Meade County school district, which includes Stuart Pepper Middle School, in Kentucky have actively spoken out about these issues.
“Kentucky teachers have several political goals, as I see it. One, fund public education at a reasonable level that restores money for textbooks, professional development, and stops requiring districts to pay for unfunded state educational mandates,” said coordinator for student services for Meade County Schools in Kentucky Amy Berry. “Two, demonstrate the ‘power’ that the teaching force has to lobby Frankfort in preparation for the fight that will ultimately take place over our pension system since this wasn’t a budget year, this could not be addressed during this session. And three, rebuild respect for the important work that our staff does for Kentucky’s children every day.”
In order for their requests to be fulfilled, many Kentucky teachers travel to Frankfort, the state’s capitol, to protest on the capitol in efforts for Congress and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin to hear their demands.
“The reason teachers are walking out of school is to go to Frankfort to make sure bills do not get passed that would hurt our public education system,” said Fackler. “The overall goal is that we keep our funding for our schools and we fund our pension system. I believe the ultimate goal is to find better funding for our schools.”
Instead of walkouts, ISTA president Teresa Meredith wants to protest in a different way in Indiana than the walkouts in other states.
“Well, we’re trying actually to get more and more of our locals to do something called a walk-in where you pick a day, you prepare, you get all of the teachers ready, you try and get administration to do this with you,” said Meredith, “and right before the contract day starts, you all gather in front of the building and you all walk in together, and you invite the community to come and watch this and you ask the community members to come and show their support for their teachers and then you let local news media know that you’re doing this.”
Walkouts and other such protests happen to draw attention to the problems teachers constantly face in their chosen profession.
“The thing that will help Kentucky schools and employees the most, in this fight, is for all Kentuckians to vote,” said Kentucky Stuart Pepper Middle School eighth grade math teacher Casey Mattingly. “We need pro-education legislators in office. We also need all people who are not registered to vote, to register. The more voters for our cause, the better.”
Some students are even getting involved, some marching with their teachers.
“I do know a bunch of students, like when the teachers go and protest, a bunch of students are going to Frankfort to protest with them. Last year, when all of this kind of ramped up, there were walkouts before school started in the morning. A lot of students participated in that,” said Palmer. “That’s all that I can really think of, though. I know some kids are taking to Twitter because of that JCPS closings (Twitter) account. A lot of them are talking to the Matt Bevins (Twitter) account. I’m not sure if he is seeing them but someone is at least.”
Teachers want legislators to know that they are here for an important reason, and that is to help students.
“Understand that everything is not black and white, that teachers are here because we’re passionate about helping kids,” said Charbonneau. “We’re not here to jump through hoops or to give tests or to just make the state happy. We’re here for kids.”
by Karli Coleman and Mia Boutelle
The following are interviews with FC teachers in regards to love at first sight. If interested in the printed story, pick up a copy of the March issue of the Bagpiper.