Just three weeks into the 2020 legislative session, Indiana State Senate Democrats have already delivered on all three key issues Hoosier teachers wanted addressed.

Over 15,000 teachers gathered for Organization Day at the Statehouse last November for their #RedForEd Day of Action – demanding that the General Assembly take their concerns seriously. Your Senate Democrats listened.

Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) and Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Merrillville) released Senate Bill (SB) 306 and SB 413, respectively, to provide an immediate boost to teacher pay without raising taxes or making any cuts elsewhere in the budget.

Both measures were defeated by Republicans along party line votes not once, but twice; first in Appropriations Committee and then again during a vote by the full Senate.

Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) introduced SB 45 to eliminate the controversial “PGP/externship” requirement the General Assembly passed last year which force teachers to provide free labor to private companies in order to renew their teaching licenses. Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) and Sen. John Ruckleshaus (R-Indianapolis) joined Sen. J.D. Ford in support of SB 45, which currently awaits a hearing in the Senate Education and Career Development Committee.

Senate Republicans did finally join the Democrats in supporting one issue concerning teachers: holding schools harmless from the now infamous I-LEARN rating system. SB 2 passed the Senate unanimously, but this legislation only pauses the implementation of the I-LEARN system for two years. Sen. Eddie Melton introduced an amendment which would have done away with the unpopular A-F rating system all together, but it was defeated, once again, on a party line vote.

Even though session has only just begun, Republicans have repeatedly chosen to sit idly by as Indiana’s public schools face a teacher shortage and underfunded schools.

Despite Republican opposition, Indiana Senate Democrats will continue delivering on their promise to stand up for Hoosier teachers and students, for the rest of the 2020 session and beyond.