Yesterday the Indiana State House of Representatives passed a budget...without adding more money specifically for teacher pay.
The House included an increase for education funding of 2.1% for the first year and 2.3% the second year. Given the recent inflation rates, this will allow school systems to add next to nothing. The inflation rate for the previous two years, 2018 and 2017, was 1.9% and 2.1% respectively. Republican legislators have suggested that teachers could get more money in their pockets if school systems budgeted better...spent less money on administrators and other "frills."
Their criticism of school spending has raised the ire of superintendents and educators who say they have little left to cut after years of increasing costs and state revenue that has barely kept pace with inflation.The test score bonus is still in effect, however, so those teachers who teach in low-poverty schools are guaranteed a cut from an extra $30 million. Perhaps we could cut the millions we waste on the "state test."
Not all of this paltry increase in education funding will make its way to public school classrooms, however. The House has chosen to spend more on school privatization. They decided that charter schools deserve an increase from $500 to $1000 per student, and have increased voucher costs by adding a new tier worth 70% of state tuition support.
...and we're still waiting for someone to evaluate the charter and voucher entitlements.
Are students offered a better education in charter schools? That was the original selling point. Charter schools were supposed to improve all schools through competition.
Not anymore...now it's all about choice. Unfortunately for some children, however, the "best" charter schools refuse to "choose" them.
There’s a backlash against charter schools. What’s happening and why.
This country is nearly 30 years into an experiment with charter schools, which are publicly financed but privately operated, sometimes by for-profit companies. Supporters first described charters as competitive vehicles to push traditional public schools to reform. Over time, that narrative changed and charters were wrapped into the zeitgeist of “choice” for families whose children wanted alternatives to troubled district schools.
...Public support goes up and down, depending on the poll, and data suggest growth in charters is leveling off. Repeated financial scandals and other crises have tarnished the sector. While some charters are terrific schools that get better student outcomes than nearby district schools, others get similar or worse student outcomes. In cities with high concentrations of charters, such as Washington, where nearly 50 percent of students attend them, some parents complain that they can’t get their children into the “best” charters and the notion of “choice” is false.
Surely, having the choice of private schools yields higher achievement. The legislator has never evaluated the program, though...sinking more than half a billion dollars into mostly religious schools since its inception.
Students’ math scores drop for years after using a private school voucher in country’s largest program
Notably, the authors show that low-income students who used a voucher had slightly higher starting test scores than low-income kids who stayed in public schools. This gives credence to fears that a voucher program could concentrate the most disadvantaged students in the public school system.But it's all about choice. If you're the "right" kind of person the voucher-accepting school might "choose" you.
Cost-benefit stats show failures of voucher plan
And the child must also fit the school. Some of the faith-based schools limit admission on the basis of religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. Instruction in science and social studies can be colored by religious beliefs. As the Huffington Post reported in a joint project with The Journal Gazette last fall, some taxpayer-supported schools use materials that teach only creationism or that homosexuality is immoral and environmentalism is spiritually bankrupt.
Meanwhile, the voucher program continues to drain money from the constitutionally mandated public schools.
The voucher program has essentially created Indiana's second-largest school district without the oversight found in public school districts. Most of these students have never attended a public school before using a voucher, and this year only 274 vouchers were used to leave an F-rated public school.
If the $150 million from Tuition Support used for vouchers this school year were redistributed to the public schools as part of each district's basic tuition grant, Fiona's Logansport School district would have received an additional $619,000 this year.
The Budget bill now goes from the House of Representatives (67% GOP) to the Senate (80% GOP). Any chance they'll change the bill to favor public schools?
RALLY ON MARCH 9
Indiana teachers, do you think that the March 9th rally for public schools is going to convince the members of the Senate to add a 3% pay raise for teachers?
Are the Senators going to change the law so that we quit sucking tax dollars from public schools to send to religious institutions?
Do you think that the GOP members of the Senate even care about the teacher shortage?
Bangert: Indiana teacher pay raises: What your lawmakers say they will, and won't, do
“My understanding is we have a shortage in the state of teachers, and teachers are lasting fewer than five years,” Campbell said. “The latest legislation to pass is to allow non-certified teachers to teach in our schools because they’re so desperate to find teachers. If we’re having to resort to these measures, we’re not doing what we need to do to make sure children in Indiana are receiving a quality education.”
What will it take for Indiana's teachers to stand up for themselves and their students? (Teachers, who did you vote for in the last election?)
What will it take for Indiana to get fully funded public schools...with qualified teachers in every classroom...with reasonable class sizes...with competitive salaries...
The legislature isn't going to help.