Senate Democratic Caucus Chair J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) – and ranking minority member on the Senate Education Committee – gave the following response to the newly released Teacher Compensation Commission report:

“I’m glad that state leaders may finally start to listen to Indiana’s teachers. However, this report reveals what Senate Democrats have been saying for years now: our state government has not properly invested in our teachers for over a decade. We cannot keep punting our responsibility to individual districts who are already cash-strapped as it is.

“Every year, Senate Democrats have offered creative and fiscally-sound proposals to give teachers both immediate and sustained pay increases. Still, year after year, Statehouse Republicans ignore these solutions and sit on their hands, telling school districts to figure this out on their own.

“This teacher pay report proves that it is past time for the General Assembly to take the lead and provide the appropriate funding mechanisms that ensure all Hoosier teachers are paid a living wage. We cannot allow Republican legislative leaders to use the current pandemic as another excuse to deny teachers their pay raises. This whole year, we have seen teachers jump through hoops and work even harder to educate our kids, even during a global health crisis. Our educators’ creativity and devotion are constant evidence that they deserve their government’s support.

“As we always do, Senate Democrats are demanding progress for our hard-working educators. And as we always do, Senate Democrats will once again have proposals this session to make sure teachers get the raises they have long deserved.

“Our Republican colleagues better step up in 2021 or risk driving even more teachers out of the classroom and out of our state.”