The over 6,000 members of the American Federation of Teachers Indiana, who represent those who care for and teach our children each and every day, call upon all Hoosiers to reject the efforts to silence their voices in this session of the Indiana General Assembly.
Last week representatives of our public school teachers were not provided ample opportunity to provide testimony about HB 1004, which has major impacts on teacher retirement plans; the right to use bargaining for salary considerations and the licensing of our teachers. Only after the legislation was passed by members of a State Senate panel, the Committee Chair provided an opportunity for our representatives to speak before the members. While restricting our opportunity to speak, the Committee Chair heard testimony from other groups, including Stand for Children and Institute for Quality Education. Why not afford the same opportunity to those of us who represent classroom teachers who work each and every day?
These decisions should have nothing to do with politics but they actually have everything to do with Indiana’s future. And knowing that those with the greatest understanding about teacher retirement, salary levels and licensing of teachers were not allowed to speak before action was taken should concern every Hoosier, no matter party affiliation.
We are asking that those of you who believe in democracy to email both the committee Chairman, Sen. Boots, firstname.lastname@example.org. and the President Pro Tem of the Senate, Sen. David Long, email@example.com. Please remind both of these elected officials that they have an obligation to ensure the democratic process of public testimony.
Abraham Lincoln was right when he said, “Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.” We agree and believe that being open and allowing a full and open debate is the only way to ensure the importance of education—for all Hoosiers.