EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- They came with one simple message: public funds for public schools. Dozens of educators from across southwest Indiana made their voices heard as they avoided the rain near Evansville’s riverfront Saturday.
The rally capped off Red for Ed Week of Action as the Indiana General Assembly weighs legislation that would give more funding to private schools. Educators say more money instead needs to be devoted to Indiana’s public schools.
A commission put together by Governor Eric Holcomb revealed Hoosier teachers make less on average than teachers in neighboring states like Illinois and Kentucky, and well below the national average. Indiana State Teachers Association President Keith Gambill spoke at Saturday’s rally and says low teacher pay will only worsen Indiana’s teacher shortage problem.
Saturday’s rally comes after teachers across the country have flexed their political muscle in recent years, including in Kentucky during the 2019 gubernatorial race between then-Governor Matt Bevin and current-Governor Andy Beshear. Some of the speakers at Saturday’s rally say it may be time for Hoosier teachers to similarly have their voices heard.
Still, salaries aren’t the only issue teachers are facing. Matthew Davis says the funding increases for private schools have outstripped those for public schools and fellow teacher Betsy Campbell says public schools have too many programs they are struggling to fund, including programs that may not be available in private schools.
Most of all though, teachers are hoping their voices will resonate in the statehouse.
(This story was originally published on April 10, 2021)