Chalkbeat, January 29, 2019, by Stephanie Wang
Indiana is so far behind neighboring states in teacher compensation that it would cost an estimated $658 million to make salaries more competitive, according to a new report released Tuesday.
That price tag for raising the average teacher pay in Indiana to $59,455, which the report says would put Indiana at a regional median for salaries, comes as state lawmakers search for ways to fund teacher raises.
“Teachers in Indiana are severely behind in terms of pay,” said Stand for Children Indiana executive director Justin Ohlemiller. “It’s clear Indiana must address this pay gap if we want to turn the tide on the shortage.”
Stand Indiana and Teach Plus Indiana, two charter-friendly groups that support parents and teachers, respectively, included the increased investment among three recommendations for the state legislature in order to address what they called “Indiana’s quiet teaching crisis.”
They highlighted that Indiana teachers have experienced a decrease in average pay over the years when taking inflation into account. In 2016-17, Indiana teachers made an average salary of $50,554, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Those low salaries drive many teachers to leave classrooms, the groups’ report said. Because they make less than other college-educated professions, Hoosiers are “penalized” for choosing to go into teaching.