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Report: End Indiana’s Teaching Crisis by Increasing Pay, Promoting Career Advancement, and Improving Training and Preparation

January 29, 2019

Indiana Is behind all surrounding states in teacher pay, educators make 15% less than they did in 2000

INDIANAPOLIS, IN –  Today, Stand for Children Indiana and Teach Plus Indiana released a new report that assesses the state of the teaching profession in Indiana and puts forth a series of recommendations to combat teacher shortage and help retain teachers in the Hoosier state. The findings in the report, Addressing Indiana’s Quiet Teaching Crisis: A Sensible Blueprint for Progress, were driven by a 2018 survey of over 400 Hoosier teachers.  Key recommendations include increasing teacher pay, investing in career ladders and teacher residency programs, and improving new teacher training and preparation.  The report was commissioned by Stand for Children and Teach Plus and written by Public Impact.

“By creating more systems and opportunities to better financially support teachers, we ensure that their focus and expertise remain with their students in the classroom.” said Allison Larty, Central Indiana high school teacher and Teach Plus Policy Fellowship alumna. “Teacher compensation, career pathways, and residency programs are essential to truly promote and elevate the teaching profession in Indiana.” 

Findings: 

  1. Teachers are not primarily driven by pay, but low pay drives many from the classroom.
  2. When teachers lack effective support, they feel overwhelmed by the demands of their job.
  3. Teachers want more time to collaborate with their peers.
  4. Educators who continue to teach lack career ladders.
  5. Fewer people are choosing to teach, and those who do need effective on-the-job training.

When teachers are dissatisfied with pay and a lack of true career growth opportunities, the downstream impacts are real and costly. The report cites data showing a 60 percent drop in individuals entering teacher preparation programs. According to one study by Indiana State University, 92 percent of Indiana school districts report struggles finding qualified candidates for job openings.

The report makes a particularly strong case for implementing career ladders, a strategy which, if well-designed, can strengthen educator pipeline, keep top performers in the classroom, and help elevate the profession.  To date, the Opportunity Culture model, which allows teachers to assume greater responsibility for student learning and outcomes, for more pay, while continuing to teach, has been implemented successfully in IPS and in 13 districts in the state.

Recommendations for State Leaders: 

  1. Increase funding for teacher pay to align teaching with other professions. Indiana should initiate a dramatic increase in funding for teacher compensation to become comparable with other professions and competitive with surrounding states
  2. Fund technical assistance to help districts and schools use their new management structures. For districts to receive the recommended increased funding for compensation, state leaders should require them to develop well-designed career ladders and provide state-sponsored technical assistance to support successful transition to the resulting school management structure
  3. Fund district efforts to pave the way for every teacher in training to have a paid, full-year residency. To improve preparation and talent recruitment, the state should make a meaningful investment to support district efforts to provide teachers in training with a paid, full-year residency.

"As teacher leaders, we seek out best practices and find the solutions that will take our schools to the next level in achievement, both academically but also holistically as we work to nurture students to become the best versions of themselves they can possibly be," said Jessica Carlson, instructional coach at Garrett Middle School and Teach Plus Indiana Teaching Policy Fellowship alumna.  "I'm excited that the voice of Indiana's teachers is reflected in this report and I hope to work with state leaders to implement our recommendations."

“My own children have had multiple teachers in one year, LaToya Tahirou, a parent in Indianapolis, said. “Teachers that don’t stick around hurt students. It disrupts routines, structure and relationships that children need. Our children need a stable environment to learn.”

"Teacher compensation is very important.  However, I truly believe that the best way to increase recruitment and retention of great teachers is to provide meaningful instructional coaching for permanent growth.  This includes residency for our newest teachers," said Jean Russell, literacy instructional coach at Haverhill Elementary School, 2016 Indiana Teacher of the Year, and Teach Plus Indiana Teaching Policy Fellowship alumna. "When teachers feel supported in their goals and increase their capacity to engage learners, they want to join our ranks and stay in the classroom." 

About Stand for Children
Stand for Children is a non-profit education advocacy organization focused on ensuring all students receive a high quality, relevant education, especially those whose boundless potential is overlooked and under-tapped because of their skin color, zip code, first language, or disability.  Visit www.stand.org/indiana for more information. For the latest Stand for Children news and to join the conversation, Like us at www.facebook.com/standindiana and follow us on Twitter @IndianaStand.

About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success.  Since 2009, Teach Plus has trained thousands of teacher leaders across the country who are driving policy changes and improving the instructional practices of teachers to create an education system driven by equity, access, and excellence for all students.  teachplus.org