Standing in Solidarity

Mrs.+Susan+Schwitzer%2C+Education+Technology+Trainer+chants+%E2%80%98Red+for+Ed%21%E2%80%99+after+Mrs.+Shupryt%E2%80%99s+speech.+The+staff+came+together+to+support+increased+public+education+funding.

Mrs. Susan Schwitzer, Education Technology Trainer chants ‘Red for Ed!’ after Mrs. Shupryt’s speech. The staff came together to support increased public education funding.

Maisie Westerfield

As the buses rolled into the back parking lot on the morning of April 24, a sea of teachers wearing bright red and clutching signs stood together, cheering and taking selfies. This #RedforEd movement took place across Indiana as a show of support between all Indiana teachers. Mrs. Julie Shupryt, Science, organized the event.

“Today, we did a walk-in to try and show solidarity and to show legislatures while they’re currently in session to vote on the budget that teachers are requesting for more funding for public schools for students and [teachers],” Shupryt said.

According to Shupryt, striking is illegal in Indiana, so the walk-in was the staff’s best bet at getting their message across. This is particularly important in Indiana where public education is suffering.

“Indiana is the last in the nation for increased pay from 2002 to 2017. We’ve actually lost money if you look at inflation rates, so teachers are making less today than they used to be based on the cost of living and other factors. Considering surrounding states, we are the lowest paid, and to get even close to their average salaries, we would have to up every teacher’s salary in the state somewhere between 10 and 20 thousand dollars. The funding to our schools is being lessened, so schools are having to cut teachers, which increases class sizes, cuts programs, and our students are losing out on the aid that they need,” Shupryt said.

However, last May a referendum was passed that increased the district’s budget by around $7 million, though if it isn’t renewed in eight years, any progress made in budgeting and funding will be cut again. Shupryt and the other teachers hope that this movement, which is recognized every Wednesday by wearing red, will convince Indiana government to create supportive legislation for public schools.

“[When people are educated], they can get better jobs, understand basic [concepts] like vaccines, how the government is supposed to work, and if they don’t, they’re going to wind up being a detriment to society and possibly controlled by people who know more than them. If you don’t educate your community, they won’t understand the basics of life. That’s why public education is so important,” Shupryt said.