La PORTE — Nearly 300 Indiana school districts called off classes Tuesday in anticipation of the Red for Ed Day of Action. While many county teachers went to the big rally in Indianapolis, dozens of others took to the La Porte County Courthouse lawn to draw attention to the cause.
Area teachers who could not make the trip gathered to make their case for teacher pay raises, state accountability, and opposition to standardized testing of students.
“Public education in Indiana should be funded properly and teachers should be supported by our state government," former La Porte High School English Department chair Deborah Hunter said.
Teachers from other county school districts echoed her concerns.
“I’ve seen that over the past couple of years we have had teachers that quit because they don’t see a future in the profession. It’s going to get bad unless something happens soon,” said New Prairie High School Engineering teacher Frank Hobart.
Jeremy Roth, Tech Ed and Industrial Arts Teacher at LPHS, said, “I couldn’t make it down to Indy, so I came out here to show my support. I think education should be bipartisan. It should be funded just like every other basic [necessity] in our society.”
Christine Rosenbaum, teacher and counselor at LPHS, advocated against the current system of standardized testing.
“Our students deserve better than what they are getting. They are having to do with excessive testing, which takes away from their classroom time," she said. "Teaching has become a business instead of dealing with the basics of education."
A second-grade teacher at Joy Elementary School, Christina Shultz agreed, “They are increasing class sizes, teacher workload and demands, and unfair and overwhelming testing of students. We need a change.”
Stephanie Rozinski, a Special Education teacher at Michigan City High School, spoke about the scary reality of standardized testing for students with disabilities.
“Even students with disabilities take tests on grade-level standards," she said. "I have given tests with questions on U.S. history, ratios, positive and negative integers to students who cannot speak, tie their shoes or know the difference between letters and numbers.
"They had to sit through question after question while I asked them to make a choice,” Rozinski said. “I’m fine with being held accountable. I’m good at my job and have nothing to hide.
"But I believe all students should have quality level instruction. We do not need hundreds of thousands of dollars in testing to know that these kids don’t know ratios. Let’s have real accountability and stop punishing our students.”