Indiana State Teachers Association

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Indiana's legislative leaders say school funding remains a top priority as the latest revenue forecast indicates an additional $2 billion available in the next state budget, and education groups are urging them to "go big" sending more money to K-12 schools.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

The Indiana House made a final vote of approval Tuesday on legislation directed at the Indiana State Teachers Association. Now, with a stroke of the governor’s pen, it would become a law critics say is an attempt to weaken the state’s largest teacher union.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

Teachers could be required to take extra steps to keep their union membership if legislation headed to the House floor advances after it passed a committee vote last week along party lines.

Provided by Emily Race

The pressure to track kids down, get them engaged in school, and come up with lesson plans they can do remotely or in-person is a lot for one person to handle. Crawfordsville language arts teacher Emily Race said she's exhausted.

FILE PHOTO: Tyler Lake / WTIU/WFIU News

The Indiana State Board of Education unanimously approved a proposal to maintain full funding levels for schools operating online this fall. School leaders and educators say it offers much-needed stability.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

The political action committee tied to the largest teachers union in Indiana is not endorsing a candidate in the race for governor. 

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Teacher compensation was shaping up to be a hot ticket policy item for lawmakers in 2021, after thousands of educators flooded the Statehouse six months ago to highlight teachers' and public schools' financial needs. 

Thousands of educators gathered outside the Indiana statehouse for the “Red for Ed” rally Tuesday to support public education. The Indiana State Teacher Association says its focus is three-pronged: ILEARN hold harmless, repeal career awareness licensure requirement, and use surplus money for public schools.

More than 60 school districts across the state are cancelling classes later this month as they prepare for thousands of teachers to flock to the statehouse ahead of the upcoming legislative session. 

The U.S. census determines billions of dollars in federal funding for Indiana – including for schools – and education leaders across the state are on a mission to make sure every Hoosier child gets counted in 2020. 

Leadership at the state’s largest teachers union is changing this summer, and the incoming president says he plans to focus more on local schools’ needs.

Keith Gambill has been the Indiana State Teachers Association vice president for six years, and later this summer he’ll become president after members elected him to the position this spring.

Thousands of teachers are starting the process of renewing their teaching licenses before a new law goes into effect that requires educators to learn more about workforce and career-related needs for their students and communities.

Indiana’s teacher salaries have been the slowest growing in the country according to a national think tank, and the state’s teachers union says it will take billions of dollars to make up for years of inadequate funding.

Teachers Lobby Lawmakers for Increased School Funding, Teacher Pay

Feb 18, 2019

About 200 teachers from the Indiana State Teachers Association 7th district gathered at the Statehouse Monday to lobby for several issues, including increased teacher pay and school funding.

Sue Ellen Sopher, a middle school teacher from Maconaquah School Corporation, says she’s seen a lot of teachers leave the profession during her 15 years as a teacher.

Teacher pay is a key part of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s agenda for 2019, but he says significant raises might not happen for another two years.

Gov. Holcomb’s education plans for 2019 align with what state leaders have already said: Indiana’s budget session will be tight. So when it comes to getting more money in the hands of educators, he says actual raises might have to wait for the 2021 budget.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — A vast majority of Indiana's school districts are still struggling to find qualified teachers amid the state's lingering teacher shortage.

Indiana State University's annual survey of Hoosier school superintendents shows 91 percent say their districts had a teacher shortage this fall.

That's slightly better than the 94 percent who reported teacher shortages last fall. But 94 percent of the 220 districts who completed this year's survey say they continue to struggle to find qualified applicants.

Indiana union leaders say a pivotal U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down Wednesday won’t have a direct impact on the state, but could change the way those groups receive support from national affiliates.

President Donald Trump is proposing a plan to merge the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor – it’s another indicator of a shift in views around education.

Activism among students and teachers has skyrocketed in recent weeks with strikes and walkouts across the country, and so far Indiana educators don’t have plans to join a growing number of movements in several states.

But Indiana State Teachers Association President Teresa Meredith says the widespread demonstrations are getting people’s attention.

“Most of the calls though are about 'what are we going to do, and when are we going to do it,' and so when I ask them why they’re asking the question, the responses vary,” she says.

Efforts For Lower School Age Fail In 2018 Session

Feb 8, 2018

Legislation to lower the age at which Hoosier children must attend school failed in the General Assembly again this year, but the conversation isn’t likely to end any time soon.

The state’s goal to prepare Hoosiers for life after high school is a major theme for education changes this year. And this week lawmakers will vote on legislation to make more students ready for the workforce.

One bill up for discussion would require schools to implement “soft skill” standards in their curriculum. Those include things like how a person works with others, or shows up dressed for their job. Lawmakers want schools to help more kids develop those, largely due to a push from employers who say workers lack those skillsets.

One of Indiana’s key teacher unions says public school educators feel disrespected, and it plans to work on restoring that respect during the upcoming legislative session. Indiana State Teachers Association President Teresa Meredith says the union’s 2018 legislative priorities focus on improving neighborhood public schools and shifting the way people talk about teaching, because she says it’s one way to draw more people into the field.

ISTA Prepares for Session, Reacts to Other Agendas

Dec 1, 2017

The state’s teachers union says special education is in dire need of attention, but has yet to appear on major legislative agendas for next year. Indiana State Teachers Association, ISTA, President Teresa Meredith says the state’s teacher shortage is still a problem, but while lawmakers have focused on the so-called STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math – Meredith says she’s more concerned with another area.

“I think the bigger need – which I think I’ve mentioned before – I think it’s almost at a crisis point, is special education,” Meredith says.

Results from the first-ever study of Indiana’s school voucher system found negative academic effects among low-income students in math, but also showed the same students could match or outperform public school peers in English – if they remained in the private school long enough.

Legislation Would Give Schools 'Freedom' To Spend State Funds How They Want, Lawmakers Say

Jan 25, 2017

Some Indiana lawmakers and school representatives are supporting a new bill that aims to simplify how schools are funded.

Currently, funding streams for traditional public schools are divided into a handful of areas -- including facilities, replacing buses, transportation costs and “general” expenses that include teacher salaries and class instruction.