The Indiana State Teachers Association announced its legislative priorities on education issues for the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly at a news conference today.
ISTA President Teresa Meredith outlined the Association’s plan to improve student learning and the practice of teaching. Meredith told reporters that ISTA supports ensuring that all public school students have the tools and resources necessary to help them reach the college and career-ready standards this state has established.
ISTA’s news conference focused on five areas of its 12-point proposal:
- School Funding—Including Testing vs. Remediation Funding
- A-F Pause/Evaluation
- Compulsory Attendance School Age
- National Board Certification for Teachers
- Support for All Learners
Meredith stated that a freshman in any Indiana high school today has seen multiple changes to education standards in 10 years of education. Changes in state standards dictated changes in state tests. “Those test scores are also being used to tell the community and state if schools are rated A, B, C, D, or F schools,” said Meredith.
Today’s freshman has also endured steady class size increases and less one-on-one instructional time with teachers. “Class size has changed so much so that Indiana now has the fourth-highest enrolled student to teacher ratio.”
Yet Meredith told reporters that a student’s academic achievements include so much more than state test scores. “Are the academic needs of Indiana students being met? Are we truly focusing on meeting every student’s needs in the here and now as well as working to prepare them for the future? We must first begin by acknowledging that not everything that counts can be measured and not everything that can be measured counts.”
The ISTA proposal asks the General Assembly to provide a three percent statewide average increase each of the next two years of regular education funding.
“Wouldn’t it be great if by the time today’s Indiana high school freshmen graduate, they could reflect back and see more one-on-one instruction in classrooms with fewer students?” said Meredith. “Wouldn’t it be great if test scores weren’t the focus on their worth to a school and community? Wouldn’t it be great if teachers were seeking National Board certification because the state chose to believe in its impact on students’ learning? Wouldn’t it be great if our state really an truly chose to instill the most important thing of all—the gift of the love of learning?”
The full 12-point proposal is available on the ISTA website at https://ista-in.org/2015-legislative-agenda.