KNOX – More than a week after area educators marched on the Statehouse demanding better pay and more funding to improve working conditions, they are admitting the next hurdle will be keeping those issues in the public eye.
For Knox Community School Corp. teachers’ union president Travis Flora, last week’s Red for Education Action Day march on the Statehouse brought attention to issues from stagnant teacher pay to workplace conditions. The rally drew an estimated 16,000 educators from across the state to Indianapolis.
“The rally was an excellent display of speech en masse,” Flora said via email last week. “There were clearly people outside of education there to support public education. I noticed several people from trade unions, standing in solidarity with public school educators. The crowd was impressive and many politicians were there to listen.”
North Judson-San Pierre teachers’ union president Eric Gappa said the issues impacting public education in Indiana aren’t only about teachers. The problems, he said, touch students, parents and the community at large.
“The Red for Ed action day on Nov. 19 was an opportunity for all educators, students, parents and community members to publicly express our concern over the sizable decrease in public school funding, overemphasis on standardized testing for students and school districts, and the overall difficulty across the state in attracting and keeping good teachers in education,” Gappa said.
“Public schools shouldn't have to resort to referendums in order to meet the financial needs of the school district,” he continued. “Students, parents, and teachers shouldn't have to live in constant stress based on the results of standardized tests. Educators are professionals and their expertise should be strongly considered as educational requirements and laws are written.”
NJ-SP was among the handful of school districts in the area that canceled classed for the Red for Ed Action Day. Superintendent Annette Zupin said schools were closed because there weren’t enough substitute teachers to cover the number of educators expected to call off for the day.