FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21)- Thousands of teachers plan to gather at the Statehouse in two weeks to rally for better pay and working conditions.
Indianapolis Public Schools canceled school on Nov.19th, or ‘Red Ed Day’, to allow teachers in the district to participate in the rally. In addition to Indianapolis, 38 other school districts across the state have also canceled school on that day.
As of Thursday, all of the districts in Allen County will be having school on that day according to Indiana State Teacher’s Association officials.
East Allen County Schools and Fort Wayne Community Schools will be participating in “walk-ins” on the 19th. Where teachers gather before school and walk in together wearing red.
Steve Brace of ISTA said some Indiana teachers are fed up.
“Teachers have been getting angry, they’ve been angry, they’ve been upset for a long time. But it’s gone beyond complaining in the teacher’s lounge it’s gone beyond complaining at school board meetings, this is a statewide issue.” Brace said.
Brace began teaching in 1969 at Adams Elementary School. He said this issue means a lot to him.
“If there aren’t some changes made, if something doesn’t happen, then Indiana could end up like West Virginia, Arizona, Chicago teachers and so forth. At some point, teachers are going to say ‘wait a minute this has to stop.” Brace said.
According to the Rockefeller Institute, Indiana teachers saw the smallest increase in pay in the country since 2002. On the 19th, teachers will rally to bring awareness to that and more. But, East Allen Educators Association President, Andra Kosmoski said the rally isn’t just about pay.
“We hear from the community: ‘kids aren’t learning this anymore, kids aren’t learning that anymore. Why aren’t they?’ Well we can’t because the legislators are telling us nope you have to teach, so that they can pass this test’.” Kosmoski said.
She says high stakes testing is not allowing teachers to help kids with what they really need.
“The amount of testing that is done I think is horrendous, and I’ve heard people call it mental abuse and I’m going to have to agree with that because the kids are done with the testing.” Kosmoski said.
Kosmoski said ‘Red for Ed Day’ is the best way for teachers to fight to get what they need for the children.