CHARLESTOWN, In. (WAVE) - According to our Indianapolis content partner, WTHR, more than half of Indiana schools are out for the day as teachers demand higher pay.
National Education Association data shows, for the 2017-2018 school year, Indiana's average starting salary for a teacher was just under $36,000, ranking the state as the 37th lowest paying for teachers.
On Tuesday, teachers organized through the Indiana State Teachers Association marched on the statehouse and met with their lawmakers.
It wasn’t just higher pay teachers wanted to see.
Teachers from Salem and Clarksville where among those to speak to WAVE 3 News reporters. Each said 20 to 40 of their colleagues were in Indianapolis for Red for Ed Day.
“We’re losing funding and our kids are hurting,” Nicole Colwell, an educator from Bradie Shrum Elementary said. “Testing is not working and the state has some work to do.”
“Right now, a lot of teachers fund their own classrooms on their second or third job,” Christina Schotter, a teacher at Clarksville Elementary said. “They’re paying for everything.”
16,000 people registered to attend the event.
“Schools are having to get rid of either art teachers, music teachers and PE; or they’re having to put classified staff in those positions,” Schotter said. “My husband is an art teacher. My children. I want them to see what advocacy is like and to know how to stand up for themselves.”
“We need to hold harmless these test scores,” Colwell said. “They’ve hurt our schools. We need to increase funding for our public schools. We’re seeing a lot of money in the state go to our charter schools and that’s hurting our students, especially in a rural community.”