INDIANAPOLIS — Tuesday was a historic day at Indiana's Statehouse as thousands of teachers showed up from all over the state to rally.
For hours, thousands of teachers and their supporters rallied and marched in support of the following things teachers say they need from legislators to be successful:
- Increase average salary to $60K for teachers across the state
- Less focus on standardized testing (ILEARN)
- Drop the 15 hour externship requirement for teachers to renew their license
- Stop holding schools and teachers accountable for the post-graduation status for students
If the legislature doesn't make the above things happen, teachers say they'll be forced to take more action.
"We're not happy with the way things are going and if things don't change and get better, there's an election in November," T. Washington, one of teachers who rallied, said.
Washington, along with Amber Seibert, Patrick Miller, and Ben Yoder talked to RTV6 after the rally. They're hoping this next legislative session takes into account their perspective as educators.
"If you don't know how to create good educational policy, ask the people that do," Ben Yoder said. "Come to teachers, ask the educators to help you do it because we will more than happily help you craft positive, effective, educational policy."
Washington says ILEARN is stressful for teachers and students.
"Let teachers teach," Washington said. "Let the students enjoy being the classroom and learning again because right now, they get so stressed out, (have) anxiety. Students are literally crying because of all the state testing required."
Yoder says there's a better way to see how students are learning.
"If you really want to know what teachers are doing and how effective they are, see where they can move kids from where they started, to where they're ending, not from wherever they started to a certain point that's the same for everyone," Yoder said.
According to some legislators, the 15 hour externship requirement to renew teaching licenses was meant to show teachers what the work force needs out students, but the teachers we talked to say, it comes across as something much different.
"It's not only a slap in the face, but it's a blatant display of the ignorance of our profession," Amber Seibert said.
"You have teachers who are working a second, three, even sometimes four jobs," Washington said. "That right there tells you we have experience in the business world."
Equity, creating a level playing field for all students is something the teachers we talked to said needs to be a focus teachers and lawmakers
"Whether it's minority groups or LGBTQ students, that's what I want to be talked about more within education," Patrick Miller said. "How we can support all students and not just the majority."
Despite thousands of teachers in red rallying at the statehouse, RTV6 was told by several teachers that it was hit or miss with legislators. Seibert says she saw several walk by and others stop and talk to them. Throughout all of this, these teachers say they want their students to learn a valuable lesson.
"I want them to see that when you disagree with something and when you believe in something, that it's important to stand up for what is right," Yoder said.