INDIANAPOLIS — Over 1,000 teachers from across the state rallied at the Indiana Statehouse here March 9 for more school funding and higher pay. Sponsored by the Indiana State Teachers Association, the event was originally scheduled to be held outdoors, but rain moved it into the Statehouse where teachers and their supporters, many wearing red T-shirts, filled the rotunda and two floors of balconies.
Though Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has said he wants a rise in teachers’ pay, there aren’t any bills before the legislature to guarantee one. A recent study found Indiana was behind all surrounding states in average teacher pay. A popular chant was, “What do we want? Fair pay! When do we want it? Now!”
“We want better working conditions. We need more counselors and nurses,” Sandra Butts, a teacher at West Vigo Elementary School, told the Militant. “They ask us to stay after school and do extra work, but with no extra pay.”
“You’re not alone,” Becky Pringle, vice president of the National Education Association, told the crowd. She was referring to the rounds of teacher protests and strikes in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona and elsewhere over the last year. “I bring you their support and I bring you their power.”
Jacob Burton, 18, a senior at Owen Valley High School attended the rally. “My teachers’ pay is too little,” he said. “That’s why I’m here today.”