INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The sea of red at the Indiana Statehouse Tuesday won’t last forever, but teachers hope the impact of Red for Ed Day will.
Some teacher concerns are likely to be addressed in the legislature this year.
“The hold harmless for teachers for the testing, I think will be an issue that will be taken up this session,” said Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch.
However, Crouch said raising teacher pay may have to wait, at least until the next budget session.
“And the reason that’s important is we want to have a long term, viable solution to the teacher pay issue,” said Crouch. “We don’t want to just have a band-aid.”
Teachers we talked to at the rally said now is the time.
“I don’t really care where they get the money, honestly,” said teacher Michelle Hays. “They need to put education first.”
“My mom is a teacher,” said six-year-old Charlie Ferguson as he read the sign he made for this historic event.
His mom, Janna Ferguson, brought him to participate because she said she wants him and everyone else to know it’s more than just money.
“I get a little disheartened when I hear people say it’s all about teacher pay, and I hear people say we are using kids as shields, and I want people to know that we got into this profession because we love kids, and we want what is best for them,” said Janna.
She and many others feel over-worked and over-regulated. Especially after the state passed a 15-hour externship requirement for teachers last session.
“It’s just another hoop we have to jump through,” added Hays.
Democratic State Senator J.D. Ford said he’s working on a bill to get rid of that hoop this year. Ford said it will completely repeal the externship requirement.
“I encourage them to watch this bill, track it, and contact their legislators,” said Ford.
Crouch said she hopes teachers stay involved too. She said days like ‘Red for Ed’ truly influence policy.
“Absolutely, I think every person’s voice makes a difference,” said Crouch. “So the fact that we have them here, they are engaged in the process, they’re meeting with their legislators, they’re letting their issues be known, I think that’s an important part of the process.”