Signed, Sealed, Delivered - The Campaign Begins!
PROTECTING PUBLIC EDUCATION | SERVING OUR COMMUNITY
Those of you who know me will not be surprised to learn I filed to run for the Indiana General Assembly as a State Representative for District 88. My family has already chalked it up to genetics since my grandfather was a Marion County Commissioner in the 1950s.
To my teacher colleagues – this is what I promised when I was in the trenches of public education – I would tell our story of what is happening to public education – in the classroom.
Why now? I resigned from full-time teaching in June 2021, but I’m not done being an educator. There’s too much to do. In the midst of the pandemic, the fundamental inequities, arbitrary micromanagement, and downright unfairness of the education system were on full display when classroom and home merged. Teachers were praised, how did they do it? Get kids to focus? To listen?
Then the world needed to get back “to normal.” And that meant kids back in school. I was there when that happened. Teaching to 20 “circles” on a laptop with five to eight students on computers, sometimes working, but most of the time like all of us, weighed down by uncertainty, lethargy, and self-protective apathy.
Calls for a return to school and normalcy during the pandemic ignored the fact that there was no going back and that very few teachers wanted to return to a situation where they were underpaid, unfairly evaluated, blamed, and judged for results and issues outside of their control.
Give teachers opportunity, respect, and resources and you will have innovation and motivation which leads to empowered students who thrive – yes – even in a pandemic.
But Indiana teachers know that so much of the time they are not respected – HB 1134 tells them that. So does taking the State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s position from elected to appointed (thanks Mike Pence). And average teacher pay ranks 38th nationally. Not to mention an average of about 12-hour (or more) workdays, (according to a Scholastic/Gates Foundation study).
And while teachers were designated “essential workers” in Aug. 2020 to pressure them back into the classrooms; Indiana did not put them on the vaccine list until March of 2021.
Running for political office remains a deeply-held and long-time buried desire to participate in the democratic process for two reasons: