Teresa Meredith

John Hurley’s classroom looks more like a workshop than anything. Old, industrial machines sit quiet, waiting, but other parts of the room come alive as students start cutting metal or assembling small engine parts. Hurley makes rounds to check in on each of them – it’s a workflow he knows well, since he’s been a career and technical education instructor in Spencer County for nearly a decade.

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.

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.