At a news conference today, ISTA President Keith Gambill called on legislators to restore teacher voice in their working conditions. Gambill says that educators cite the lack of professional respect as a contributing factor in our state’s teacher shortage.
“Our state is slowly making progress on teacher pay, and we remain steadfast in ensuring this progress doesn’t slow over the coming years. However, professional pay alone isn’t enough. Additional action needs to be taken to attract and retain teachers to address our state’s teacher shortage,” said Gambill.
Teacher workload and burnout, already an issue before the pandemic, is worsening the state’s teacher shortage.
“We are now going into the third consecutive school year impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Our educators, already overburdened, are facing unsustainable levels of stress and stress-related illness,” said Gambill.
ISTA is calling on the legislature to restore teachers’ ability to bargain contracts that include health and safety conditions, class sizes and prep periods for teachers to prepare lessons and grade work.
The Association cited a statewide survey indicating eight in ten Hoosiers say that educators should be able to bargain for health and safety, class sizes and prep periods in addition to salary and wage-related benefits.
“It’s overwhelmingly clear that Hoosiers believe educators should be able to negotiate as a group for working conditions to improve learning conditions,” said Gambill.
ISTA also provided a statewide update on the progress of collective bargaining. According to the Association, the number of districts meeting the goal of a $40,000 starting teacher salary went from 79 districts to 212. ISTA credits the hard work of its members working on bargaining teams for pushing districts to lift starting pay. ISTA debuted a statewide map to track school districts that have achieved the goal of a starting teacher salary of $40,000. The weekly updated map can be viewed at InvestInEducationIN.org.
Gambill was joined at the news conference by ISTA members Jessica Ramirez, Jenny Whitaker and Lori Young who shared their stories of what it would mean to restore bargaining rights in these three areas.