Indiana's teachers unions are pressing lawmakers to take significant action on teacher compensation in 2021. The American Federation of Teachers Indiana and the Indiana State Teachers Association released their legislative priorities this week.
The unions say they both want lawmakers to fully fund schools. How lawmakers will decide to navigate a 2019 law that restricts funding for students learning virtually more than half the time has been top of mind for school leaders and budget officials.
The unions also both want lawmakers to address teacher pay on a statewide level – something Gov. Eric Holcomb promised for the 2021 session after his teacher compensation commission has taken more than a year to study the issue. They also want the General Assembly to restore teacher bargaining rights, after the state passed a law restricting what teachers can negotiate with schools in 2011.
ISTA also plans to advocate for fewer standardized tests in the state, as well as school health and safety funding as the pandemic continues. It also is urging lawmakers to expand access to broadband internet, and adjust the state's school funding formula to provide more support to students with complex and special needs.
Meanwhile, AFT Indiana wants the state to align its accountability system with the federal one, something outgoing Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick has advocated for during her time as state schools chief.
The 2021 legislative session starts Jan. 4.