Governor Holcomb deserves credit for keeping the issue of teacher pay front and center. We agree that freeing up money for local districts to invest in educator salaries is a positive, and we applaud his creativity to try and get more money in the pockets of teachers.
We do hope that in the next budget session, the size and scope of the Governor's and legislature’s plans match the enormity of this problem. To be clear, we have a systemic issue that is costing thousands of children a shot at a great education. That issue is our state’s inability to attract and retain top talent in the classroom. Unless we dramatically increase pay — Indiana is dead last in the region — we will continue to experience a shortage of teacher talent. But it’s more than just pay. We know from the survey we released in partnership with Teach Plus Indiana last year that educators want career growth opportunities where they can expand their leadership, further their development and help mentor up-and-coming teachers — all while staying in the classroom. We also know we have to improve and innovate when it comes to our teacher preparation programs, which are experiencing significant enrollment drops.
Indiana must have a plan to elevate the teaching profession overall. We look forward to working with Governor Holcomb and the General Assembly to create and enact a bold, multi-year, detailed strategy that will truly address the teacher talent shortage in the Hoosier state.