Homestead Red for Ed

Matthew Quintos, Online Editor

     On November 19th, the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) organized a statewide day of protest to bring attention to issues within public education. Over half of Indiana’s school districts closed for the day and an estimated 10,000 teachers went to the Indiana Statehouse to protest. 

     While increased pay was a major concern for teachers, this does not encompass the entirety of the demands ISTA has. There are three primary demands that ISTA wants meet: to hold teachers and school harmless from the recent dismal ILEARN scores, a new professional development requirement repealed and an increase in teacher pay. 

    Supporters of the Red for Ed day were asked to wear red to show their solidarity with the policy changes ISTA is advocating. Throughout the school, administrators, teachers and even students wore red to elucidate their support for the cause. 

 

     Many Homestead staff and students participated in the event. In the early morning, the teachers of Homestead participated in a “walk-in” event, striding through the gates as a unified force. Furthermore, many Homestead teachers took a personal day to travel to Indianapolis by themselves. 

 

     Unlike many districts, Southwest Allen County Schools did not close its doors on November 19th. This decision appears to have resulted from the Homestead administration encouraging alternative means of support for the movement or teacher apathy to the cause itself. 

 

     While some districts chartered buses to bring their teachers to the Indianapolis Statehouse and openly supported the movement, Homestead appears to have taken a quieter role in its advocacy. Some teachers have, who will remain anonymous, have expressed their belief that the issues ISTA is advocating for less directly impact teachers at Homestead because of the school’s higher pay, better behaved students and referendum income cementing the school’s status as a top notch educational institution within the state. This is not to suggest that teacher pay is anywhere near sufficient in Indiana, but rather place Homestead’s problems within the perspective of the broader educational issues statewide.

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For his part. Governor Holcomb has initiated a commission to study teacher pay and propose solutions to the issue. The commission is expected to release its recommendations General Assembly for the 2021 budget-writing session. However, Governor Holcomb was absent for the protest, attending a Republican Governor’s Association meeting. The Governor maintains that the meeting was scheduled months in advance and that his absence does not reflect his views on the matter.