Teachers Running For Office
There’s a meme circulating on social media for Teacher Appreciation Week saying, “Want to show teachers you appreciate them? Stop voting for politicians who create bad education policies.”
Our state government is not listening to educators. For the past decade or so, the majority of Indiana General Assembly members have consistently marginalized or silenced educators’ voices when it comes to education policy.
If our legislators appreciated teachers, they would trust them to educate our children instead of micromanaging the classroom and pushing high-stakes testing.
If our legislators appreciated teachers, they would pay for professional development so teachers have the tools to hone their practice—instead of dangling a small carrot of funding for “effective” or “highly effective” teaching, as if teachers were trained monkeys.
If our legislators appreciated teachers, they would not fail third-graders with the I-READ test; they would use that testing money to fund preschool, which is more effective to improve literacy rates.
If our legislators appreciated teachers, they would listen to our state superintendent of public instruction (of either party), the expert in the field, and follow her guidance. They wouldn’t eliminate the elected position or the requirements of K-12 education experience for the job.
If our legislators appreciated teachers, they would stop punishing children living with the effects of poverty with stigmatizing letter grades and the threat of takeover for their community schools. They would provide wraparound services and evidence-based programs to help them.
If our governor appreciated teachers, he would center their voices on policymaking instead of appointing a “teacher pay commission” without a single current teacher on it.
If legislators appreciated teachers, they would stop defunding our public schools by diverting funds to privately-run charter and innovation schools. They would end vouchers, which allow public funds to go to private religious schools that can and do openly discriminate.
If our legislators appreciated teachers, they would pay them. Indiana’s teachers are at the bottom of the country in salary increases over the past 15 years. Teachers are making less now—adjusted for inflation—than they did 20 years ago.
In response to politicians inserting themselves in education, more educators are entering politics. We have many Indiana educators running for state office. Who knows best how decisions at the statehouse affect the lived experiences of our children in the classroom?
The best way to appreciate teachers this year may be to elect them.*
We have compiled a list of teachers and educators running for office for your information.
Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer, president Indiana Coalition for Public Education
*ICPE is a 501c4 organization. We do not, however, endorse individual candidates. We strongly urge our friends to look at our legislative report card, make their own choices and #VotePublicEd