Letter: Teachers bill not good for students

To the editor:

For years, local teachers and school administrators have worked together to best serve our students. If House Bill 1004 passes -– the controversial bill purporting to solve Indiana’s teacher shortage — it will be more difficult to ensure kids have a caring and qualified teacher in every classroom.

HB 1004 allows a school administrator to unilaterally offer extra pay to a teacher in what they determine to be a difficult to fill position. This would upend the delicate balance of Indiana’s long-standing process for teacher compensation. Likewise, this would add complication for superintendents struggling to retain current staff by enticing teachers away for a few more dollars.

In school districts throughout the state, both administrators and teachers have come together to solve these kinds of local problems. HB 1004 dissolves those partnerships.

Cherry-picking individual teachers to pay supplements means most teachers will be paid less. Schools get one pot of money to pay teachers. To pay one teacher more means another earns less. This would make many teaching jobs less desirable and, no doubt, further exacerbate the teacher shortage and harm students.

If legislators’ intents are to help teachers, then they should make them part of the conversation. Attempting to solve a problem by knowingly creating multiple additional problems is no solution.

I urge supporters of public schools to join teachers statewide and contact your legislators. Tell them to oppose HB 1004.

Julian Smith