According to dataua.org.io/profile/geo/Indiana the median household income in Indiana was $55,746 in 2018. However, the average public education teacher salary was $50,000. This concern was one of many talking points during the Red for Ed rally in November. Teacher salaries have been at a stand still ever since the state took away the teacher pay scale, and did not allow districts to provide teachers with a yearly wage increase or extra earning for continuing their education.
Besides the fight for higher teacher pay, teachers raised concern for the competition of public funds being directed to private, charter, and online schools. This education funding concern also comes from a $300 million cut by Mitch Daniels, that has yet to be returned to public education. During the 2018-2019 school year, Indiana paid out over $160 million towards school choice vouchers. These dollars are taken from public schools, that support teacher pay, mental health services, and classes that have been under funded, to fund a student to attend a school of his/her choosing. While students should have freedom to choose what school they attend, it is important that tax payer dollars are allocated and used appropriately in the application of school choice.
Running for political office requires a candidate to be knowledgeable on community matters. Currently one of the most pressing matters in Indiana is the direction of public education, which the statehouse is currently revising previous bills that legislators have now realized was not feasible. As your state senator I would require the state to hold schools accountable that receive tax payer dollars. There needs to be transparency in all schools to prevent student and teacher discrimination practices, make sure there are qualified teachers, and every student is given the opportunity to succeed.
As a family of educators, I understand the circumstances low teacher pay can place our current educators in. Teacher pay is not increasing, but health insurance, cost of living, child care expenses, etc. are. It is my mission that all teachers earn an honest living and are rewarded for their hard work. Teachers should see an increase in their base salary rather than a one time grant that will not follow them. Teachers deserve the respect and competitive pay other educated professions receive.
As an educator, I stand for PUBLIC EDUCATION.