'Trust us': Educators say controversial bill undermines their expertise, ability to teach
"Trust us" – that was the message some teachers wanted to send to lawmakers as they gathered at the Statehouse Monday. It's part of an ongoing effort from several groups to push back against a controversial school curriculum and parent oversight bill.
It's the second consecutive week with educators from across Indiana converging on the Statehouse to talk with lawmakers about their concerns.
Kayla Wilhelm is a third grade teacher from Fort Wayne, and said the bill makes her feel like lawmakers don't trust her to do what she's trained for.
"We trust you to do what is best for our state," Wilhelm said. "They're elected officials – we trust them – and I need them to trust us."
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Other teachers agree, and said state legislation isn't the right response to some parents' local concerns.
Tyler Davis is a high school history and psychology teacher in Columbus. He said he wants lawmakers to know how many tools teachers already use to share classroom content with students and their parents, which has become essential during the pandemic.
"We don't need the government creating more obstacles and more hurdles for us to jump through that aren't needed – it won't make our classrooms better, it won't make education better," he said.
Davis said if parents want to know more about what's being taught, they need to work with their child's teacher.
Many educators worry the bill will likely become law. Davis and Wilhelm said regardless of whether it does, the bill is already further straining the dynamic between teachers and the General Assembly, despite lawmakers' attempts to soothe educators' frustrations about pay and school funding just last year.
A group of teachers from Fort Wayne said the bill is prompting more discussions among their peers about leaving the profession or the state entirely.
House Bill 1134 is scheduled for a committee hearing Wednesday.