Indianapolis (WISH) – It was a good old-fashioned pep rally on the south lawn of the Indiana Statehouse Tuesday, complete with a pep band and cheer section gathered from around the state.
All of the teachers News 8 spoke with said a raise would be great, but that is not the main reason many of them were at the Statehouse.
They are asking for fundamental changes in standardized testing and their teaching licenses.
Indiana teachers are required to complete 90 professional growth points to renew their license. In the past, teachers could satisfy those requirements with college credits or professional development.
Last year the requirements changed, and teachers are now required to earn 15 points with an externship.
“However, what they added last year was now we have to have 15 hours of an unpaid externship at a local business,” said Erin Charpentier, a teacher at Hebron High School.
She says the idea behind the externship, which is a huge sticking point for many of the teachers at the rally, is to immerse new teachers into the community in which they teach.
“Essentially what they are saying is we want 15 hours of your time for free because we don’t feel you know enough of the community in which you live,” said Charpentier.
When Barbara Malangoni started teaching 31 years ago, there wasn’t much activism in the teaching profession. She never dreamed of waiting outside the governor’s office to offer an opinion to a lawmaker. This is her first trip to the Statehouse for a rally, and one she says is long overdue.
“They are working harder for less, with less resources, with less resources in the classroom, less resources for the students ultimately,” Malangoni said.
Changes to the license renewal process, salary increases and standardized testing are in the hands of state lawmakers.