Teacher scholarship bill aims to get more teachers in Indiana classrooms

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Posted at 8:36 AM, Mar 10, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS – According to theIndiana Department of Education there are more than 1,400 open teaching positions. From low pay to stressful situations, there are multiple factors that have contributed to the teacher shortage.

House bill 1528would help people with four-year degrees who currently work at a school district get their teacher's certification.

"Programs like we have at UIndy allow the teachers to remain in the classroom, employed in the classroom and take course work online and complete their student teaching as part of their employment,” Carey Dahncke, the Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Leadership of Learning at the University of Indianapolis, said. “Then they can become a fully qualified teacher."

Programs like that are what House Bill 1528 are trying to promote. The bill would create a scholarship where applicants could receive up to $10,000 that they can put towards their tuition.

"It's good for the school districts because you know they have a teacher’s shortage," State Representative Dave Heine of District 85 said.

Representative Heine is the author of the bill. He says this legislation is something his constituents and family members inspired him to write.

"I have a daughter in law that’s a Spanish teacher, I have a niece that's a teacher and you know when you are around teachers, you just get ideas," Heine said.

It’s a program that those in the education sphere say is a step in the right direction when it comes to encouraging more people to go into the teaching profession, especially as pay continues to be an issue.

"When you look at other professions outside of teaching, it's about 25 percent less income that an individual would receive if they were a teacher versus another professional field," Dahncke said.

The bill will dedicate $1 million in the state budget to the program through the Next Generation Hoosiers scholarship program. A program Representative Heine hopes to expand in the future.

“The students win, the teachers win and the school corporation wins, so it's a win,” Heine said.

Teachers taking part in the scholarship program would have to sign an agreement with the superintendent of the school district they work for to agree to teach for five years.

House bill 1528 is waiting for a vote in the Senate Education Committee.