"Red for Ed" teachers rally on statehouse lawn

Yesterday, thousands of teachers and supporters from public schools across the state flooded the lawn of the Indiana statehouse atthe “Red for Ed” rally. Center Grove teachers who participated were, among other things, motivated by the lack of state funds in public school, standardized testing, and state-mandated training.

Throughout the day, organizers gave speeches on the steps of the statehouse in support of greater funding, improved teacher salaries and other measures. Among the crowds of teachers, Center Grove behavioral coach Jackie Brewer stood on a stone pillar and displayed a rotation of signs.

“I’m here because of working in schools and seeing all the need for more support and help for our teachers,” Brewer said. ‘Really, we’re all here for our kids.”

Over 240 teachers from Center Grove attended the event.

“Education is too complicated to narrow [this movement] down to one issue,” English teacher Joshua Surface said. “It’s a plethora of things: everything from funding to support from the state and test scores, and the idea that we are all in this together is the most important thing. If you don’t believe that’s true, look around.”

Early College teachers (left to right) Jenna Carroll, Lesley McDougal and Eric Howe participate in the protest. photo by Meg White

English teacher Joshua Surface displays his sign, which reads "An investment in our children is an investment in our future." photo by Meg White

According to WBST News, Indiana is ranked 51st out of the states and the District of Columbia in teachers’ salary growth. Additionally, teachers are disproportionately evaluated on their students’ standardized test scores, which can affect ratings and salaries.

“I’m here for young teachers because I’m part of a generation of teachers [who] don’t have it that bad,” English teacher David Lawson said. “We make a decent salary and we were paid for our education level. [Young teachers] don’t have any guarantee that [one day] they’ll be making more money than they are today. Fewer people want to be teachers and that’s a bad thing.”

Center Grove English teachers Laura Burkhart, Sheila Bickley, Toby Rumple, Hannah Dodson and Josh Surface hold signs at the Red for Ed rally at the statehouse. photo contributed
Teachers Timothy Eddy, Jennifer Pickell, Andrea Teevan, Alisha Milligan, Cindy Cullom and Deb McClurg participate in the Red for Ed rally. photo contributed

Lawson says the lack of teacher jobs would be similar to a lack of police officers and firefighters.

“We’re going to see a continuing teacher crisis,” Lawson said. ‘Teachers in this profession will probably leave because there’s no guarantee of finances like other professions have. I don’t know what it’s going to be like in the next ten years.”


Graham Kanwit & Meg White