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Indiana Education Leader 'Disturbed' by Teacher Jobs Report

After the school bell rings, some Indiana teachers head to a second job. (Pixabay)
After the school bell rings, some Indiana teachers head to a second job. (Pixabay)
June 25, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS – Lazy summer days are not always in the cards for Indiana school teachers.

And besides working at another job during summer school break, some teachers hold down a second job during the school year.

New data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that nearly 1-in-5 teachers worked a job outside of the school system during the 2015-2016 school year.

Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association, says educators simply are not being paid adequately.

"We're talking about an individual with a great deal of professional training who should be making preparations for tomorrow's school day, but because their pay is so low they're doing those lesson plans and things like that on their breaks from their second job or before they go to bed at midnight, or one or two in the morning,” she points out. “That should greatly disturb us."

Teachers in Indiana earn between $24,000 to $90,000 annually, according to the National Education Association. That's about 16 percent less than two decades ago when adjusted for inflation.

Meredith maintains school funding problems, coupled with a lack of respect for the profession, is resulting in teachers not being properly compensated for their education and experience.

Meredith says some folks don't realize just how much of their own time and money teachers are willing to provide to ensure their students are ready to learn.

"There are book bags and socks, and shoes, school supplies, book rentals, meals,” she states. “Those are all just some of what teachers do out of their own pocket."

Meredith adds beginning teachers typically start with a decent salary, but notes it could be as many as eight to 10 years before a pay raise depending on where they are working in the state.

"It's a long time to go without a pay increase,” she stresses, “without being able to look down the road and say, 'Hey if I stick with this I will make enough to be able to save for a house someday.' And if you can't see that on the horizon it makes it really hard to stay."

In a 2017 survey of Indiana school districts, 94 percent reported experiencing a teacher shortage, compared with 92 percent in 2016.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN