Stand for Children Indiana’s top legislative goal will include a push for programs and incentives that focus on attracting and retaining the best and the brightest to lead Indiana classrooms.
According to Stand Indiana Executive Director Justin Ohlemiller, this means asking the state to:
- Invest in a college loan forgiveness program focused on growing the number of minority teachers in urban school districts;
- Increase mentorship opportunities for new teachers to learn from successful veteran educators; and
- Incent school districts to establish career ladders for educators so that great teachers can grow professionally without having to leave the classroom.
“The data is clear – a great teacher is the number one factor in bolstering student achievement in the classroom, so it only makes sense for us to invest in this critical area,” Ohlemiller said. “Whether it’s incenting districts to create mentor programs to support new teachers, or helping dedicated young educators pay off college loans, we need to be creative in how we grow and retain talent in our classrooms.
The loan forgiveness program envisioned by Stand Indiana would focus primarily on teacher candidates who:
(1) teach in subject matters where there is an identified shortage of qualified applicants;
(2) represent minority communities and teach in majority minority schools; and
(3) speak multiple languages and teach in schools with high numbers of students where English is a second language.
The teacher talent package being backed by Stand Indiana, known as The Teach Indiana Program, will also include changes that allow teachers from other states to have their teaching licenses honored in Indiana, as well as granting flexibility for districts to offer more money to teacher candidates who focus on subject matters that have traditionally experienced shortages of qualified applicants.
Ohlemiller said Stand Indiana is pleased that State Senator Pete Miller has filed a bill that includes some of his organization’s priorities in the area of bolstering teacher talent.
“We look forward to working with Senator Miller and other lawmakers to help ensure some of our best and brightest in Indiana end up in front of our classrooms, performing one of the most important jobs in our state,” Ohlemiller stated.