State Superintendent in Berne to address teacher pay, graduation rate

State Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick said we're in desperate need of teachers across the country, but Indiana is ranked last for teacher pay.

Posted: Apr 3, 2019 8:27 PM
Updated: Apr 5, 2019 3:13 PM

BERNE, Ind. (WFFT)- State Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick said we're in desperate need of teachers across the country, but Indiana is ranked last for teacher pay. 

"Schools are up against some interesting odds as far as either putting people temporarily into positions, making some staffing changes and shuffling and opportunities for kids that maybe aren't real popular,or that they don't desire as well,but that teacher issue and the teacher shortage is real," she said. 

More specifically, we need special education and high school STEM teachers. 

Low pay has students shying away from a career in education. Recently, the House proposed a pay increase, but it was only two percent. 

"We're losing about 35 percent of our teachers in year one through five because of pay. So, we've got to put that on the forefront. Indiana is last when it comes to, since 2002, how much we have kept up with teacher pay," Dr. McCormick said. 

South Adams is a small, rural district. Their superintendent said that means they were affected by funding cuts and can't pay their teachers as much. 

"2009 we received a certain rate. Just this year, we're back up to that rate and it's like a one percent increase," said Scott Litwiller. 

But, Dr. McCormick said there's a lot South Adams, and the state of Indiana, are doing right, such as a high graduation rate. 

"That's something to be celebrated here. That's just great work, and that's across the board k-12. And like I said, it takes everyone."

South Adams also has a high Hispanic graduation rate. 

"With that Hispanic rate hitting 90 percent, like I said, many schools would really like to see those type of numbers," she said. 

She said the best way for teachers to make a difference is to contact their local representative. 

"Schools are expensive, but it's the right thing to do."

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