Local teachers take a stand
Teachers took a hard stand on Nov. 19 at the statehouse as they voiced their frustrations and concerns during the Red for Ed Action Day.
About 16,000 or more public education advocates, including teachers from both Eastern Pulaski Community and West Central school corporations, gathered on the statehouse steps for the ceremonial start of the 2020 legislative session. Teachers voiced their concerns regarding the ILEARN scores reflecting their evaluations, the state law requiring teachers to spend 15 hours of unpaid time toward professional “externships” and a need for more funding including an increase in teacher salaries.
When a number of the teachers from Eastern Pulaski arrived at the statehouse they moved to the doors on the south side of the building where the legislators enter the building. Derrick Stalbaum attended the rally as not only an Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation teacher but also a North Judson-San Pierre school board member. He said legislators walked through a tunnel of public education advocates before entering the building.
“As the legislators were walking in they had no choice but to see us and make eye contact with us as they were walking in for their day,” Stalbaum said. “To me that was very telling. There were some legislators who were happy we were there and then there were others who would put their head down and basically run through us. Unfortunately, that was kind of how our legislators were.”
Once the legislators began their day, advocates moved to the front of the statehouse to hear from several speakers including Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick, National Education Association Vice President Becky Pringle, local teacher association officials and various other teachers. They then marched around Indianapolis.
Stalbaum said it was great to network with educators and administrators across the state. He said there were also a number of teachers’ spouses at the rally. They attended because their spouses were teaching.
He believes the public education advocates will continue to do the little things to gather support.