INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosier teachers, like Holly Tyran, say they’re up against a lot these days.
“It’s hard to retain teachers, especially the last couple of years,” she said.
Tyran, who teaches in South Bend, has been in education for 21 years. During that time, she’s seen many colleagues come and go, but now with new proposals being discussed at the statehouse, she’s worried it’ll only make things worse.
“With these bills, it’s going to make it even harder for teachers to want to stay in the profession,” Tyran said.
Tyran, along with many other current and former educators, joined the Indiana State Teachers Association for its “Pack the House” event on Monday. Members and allies spent the day highlighting issues within the education system, including several proposals.
One proposal includes House Bill 1134, which centers on regulating school curriculum and includes a variety of elements. If passed, it would ban teachings of certain concepts regarding race, gender and ethnicity. It would also allow parents to opt their child out of select educational activities or lessons under certain conditions. The bill would also require some classroom materials to be posted online.
Supporters of the bill argue it ensures transparency and neutrality in schools. However, educators we spoke with during Monday’s protest say it does more harm than good.
“Whether it’s being able to sue individual teachers or be able to direct their curriculum, the whole bill is really nothing but an assault on teachers,” said Tim Gavin, a retired educator. “The entire bill should be scrapped, and they ought to sit down and talk with teachers and teacher professionals if they think there’s a need to kind of direct where a curriculum goes.”
Lawmakers in support of the bill, including the author, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.