Teacher Appreciation WeekLast week was national Teacher Appreciation Week. Being a teacher is one of the greatest professions someone can dedicate their lives to, and it is one of the most, if not the most, important profession in our state. Hoosier students will be the ones that blaze the trail for a bright Indiana future, and teachers are a strong influence in their lives every day. I remember countless times when my life was positively impacted by a teacher, and those special teachers should be recognized for their tireless effort.
I have met so many driven teachers throughout our community, and as a father of four young boys, I am happy they are being guided by excellent educators. In Indiana, we recognize how vital it is that we empower our teachers. The Indiana House wants to make sure that teachers have the tools to be examples for our students, so they can be leaders in the classroom and leaders in life.
During the 2013 session, we focused a lot of time and energy crafting the state’s next biennial budget, and our top focus was Indiana’s education system. As a state and a nation, we need to strive for the best possible education system that provides the foundation for Hoosiers to be successful in the 21st century, and that starts with providing the necessary resources for our teachers and students to excel. The budget:
• Increases K-12 education funding by $390M over the biennium
o K‐12 appropriations exceed pre‐recession funding levels
o K‐12 tuition support increased by 2% in FY14 and 1% in FY15
• Provides an additional $30M for K‐12 performance funding in FY15
• Creates an Early Education Matching Grant program funding Pre-K education at $2M per year for low-income children
• Invests an additional $190M over the biennium for higher education
• Increase funding for student financial aid by $75M over the biennium
I plan on having legislative roundtables over the summer to get valuable input from local educators. I want to work closely with teachers in our community so that we can put forth ideas at the Statehouse that will better the future of all Hoosier children. If you are a teacher or are involved in our local school corporations, I would greatly appreciate your input. I will be announcing future meetings soon, so please be on the lookout. Together we can do what is best for our students and all Hoosier children.
Teacher Appreciation Week may be over, but that does not mean we should stop recognizing them. Make sure to take time before this school year ends to recognize the excellent teachers we are so fortunate to have here in Indiana.