Proposed program would provide additional pay to experienced educators

By Shelby Mullis
TheStatehouseFile.com 

INDIANAPOLIS — A proposed program could provide additional pay to educators who demonstrate effective instruction in the classroom and take on a leadership role.

The Career Pathways and Mentorship Program, proposed under House Bill 1005, would provide experienced educators with extra pay in exchange for mentoring new teachers. The goal is to help new teachers “set a greater foundation for them to learn and ultimately be more effective in the classroom,” according to Rep. Dale DeVon, R-Granger.

Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Mount Vernon, testifying to House Bill 1005 during an Education Committee meeting Monday. Photo by Shayla Jones, TheStatehouseFile.com

Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Mount Vernon, testifying to House Bill 1005 during an Education Committee meeting Monday. Photo by Shayla Jones, TheStatehouseFile.com

Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Mount Vernon, said it is her mission to widen the pool of teachers and continue to let teachers do what they love in the classroom through HB 1005.

“I’m a prime example of somebody who loved teaching in the classroom, but the only way I could ascend through education was to go to administration.” McNamara said. “For me, my career ladder took me out of the classroom. It is my hope that, through this particular piece of legislation, folks won’t have to do that.”

One group advocating for the legislation is TAP: System for Teacher and Student Advancement. The TAP program provides career advancement, professional development opportunities, accountability and a performance-based compensation system for teachers based on student achievement and performance in the classroom.

Indiana TAP Director Jen Oliver said she hopes members of the committee would support the bill and encouraged them to use the TAP system for Indiana schools if they pass the bill. The TAP system allows for three types of teaching roles.

“Teachers have the opportunity to serve as a career teacher which is more of a traditional classroom teacher role. Mentor teacher, which is a leadership role at the school, but the teacher is the teacher of record for a group of students. Or a master teacher role which is a much more expensive leadership role at the school,” Oliver said at Monday’s committee meeting.

Jennifer Oliver, Indiana TAP State Director testifying to House Bill 1005 during an Education Committee meeting. Photo by Shayla Jones, TheStatehouseFile.com

Jennifer Oliver, Indiana TAP State Director testifying to House Bill 1005 during an Education Committee meeting. Photo by Shayla Jones, TheStatehouseFile.com

Through the TAP system, mentor teachers and master teachers earn supplemental pay for their additional leadership responsibilities. These responsibilities include leading weekly professional development, providing coaching and support to all teachers in the school and assisting in the evaluation process, according to Oliver.

Additionally, new teachers’ salary raises would be exempted from evaluation for the first two years. State law currently prevents teachers who are rated as “ineffective” or “needs improvement” from getting a raise.

Rep. Tony Cook, R-Cicero, said he has seen two-year teachers turn into highly effective teachers.

“This really is an opportunity to groom and create great teachers,” Cook said. “I think we’ll do a great service to them to allow them to be paid in those first two years.”

Indiana State Teacher’s Association Director of Governmental Relations Gail Zeheralis testified against the legislation at Monday’s meeting.

“I have to stand here and say that we oppose this bill because, at its core, it’s not about helping teachers do more and get more because we can do that now. If we were funded better overall, we could do it all over the place,” Zeheralis said.

Committee members amended the bill make it possible to implement TAP or a program similar to TAP. The bill passed through the House Education Committee, 11-2.

Shelby Mullis is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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