In case you are not aware, our legislators are meeting at the Indiana Statehouse to organize in preparation for their 2020 session in January. This organization day is scheduled for Nov. 19.

The “Red For Ed” movement, which involves anyone supporting public education, is taking this day for an opportunity to gather at the Statehouse as a peaceful demonstration and expression to our legislators that the direction Indiana public education has taken for the last decade needs to change.

There are local teachers and public education supporters who have decided to travel to the Statehouse on Nov. 19 and join the Red For Ed gathering. We want our legislators to hear our voice for the good of Indiana public schools.

Why is Nov. 19 so important?

For our community:

  • Public schools give students access to equal learning opportunities.
  • Public schools have the power to unite a community.
  • Public schools prepare students to become great employees.
  • Great employees build strong communities.
  • Schools build relationships.
  • A good local public school is an enticement for industry.

For our students:

  • Students deserve classrooms that are conducive to learning.
  • Students should not lose classroom instruction time to accommodate the overwhelming amount of high-stakes testing in current use.
  • Students deserve access to school counselors, nurses, psychologists, and social workers.
  • Students deserve a safe and timely ride to and from school, which happens with a complete roster of adequately-paid bus drivers and back-up drivers.
  • Students deserve educators who know the students by name and have built family relationships.
  • All students deserve the same quality education.
  • Students deserve the opportunity to learn and interact with the neighbors of their community.

For our teachers:

  • It allows teachers to have a voice in education policy and teacher requirements.
  • It gives teachers an opportunity to learn and lead.

For our schools:

  • It allows our school stewards the opportunity to keep our buildings and equipment in working and safe condition, as well as provide upgrades.
  • It provides our school stewards a stronger likelihood to retain quality teachers and offer a competitive wage to incoming teachers.

Locally, Twin Lakes School Corporation has lost $500,000 this year alone due to the funding formula and the number of students enrolled. Twin Lakes has also lost teachers — good teachers — to neighboring schools in and out of the county.

We know that Twin Lakes is not alone; public schools losing funding and teachers is happening all over the state of Indiana. In order for voices to be heard, there are several Twin Lakes School Corporation educators who have decided to submit a personal day to travel to Indianapolis on Nov. 19 to use their voices in the demonstration for change.

Fortunately for our community, we have teachers who are willing to donate their personal day, travel to Indianapolis regardless of weather, and spend their time to gather for change. Unfortunately, this may create a situation of a teacher shortage for that day because the number of teachers deciding to attend has been growing over the last several days.

We are trying to come up with practical or creative solutions to avoid having to close Twin Lakes’ schools on Nov. 19.

In the event our superintendent may have to make the difficult decision to close school for the day and add it to the calendar at the end of the year, we want our community to be aware that we would prefer that this action not be necessary.

Please do not think harshly of our local educators for wanting change from our Indiana legislators and taking the opportunity to use their voices on Nov. 19.

Finally, if you are a public education supporter, please join us at the Indiana Statehouse to use your voice and let our legislators know that you, too, would like to see change.

Barb Broedel and Darcy Slade are Twin Lakes educators and co-preesidents of the Twin Lakes Classroom Teachers’ Organization. They are 1983 graduates of TLHS.