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Indiana legislation tries to bring in teachers from other careers



Indianapolis, Indiana – Legislators in Indiana are debating a measure that would offer scholarships to Hoosiers switching from other professions to teaching.

A Senate committee is currently debating House Bill 1528, which was approved by the House with no opposition.

“The teacher shortage is very real,” said Laura Hammack, superintendent of Beech Grove City Schools.

As of Wednesday, there were more than 1,400 available teaching positions listed on Indiana’s online education job website.

According to school authorities, fewer individuals are entering the profession and more Hoosiers are leaving it.

“We typically would see sometimes hundreds of applications for elementary teacher positions in Beech Grove, and that has just dwindled,” Hammack said.

According to Hammack, her district has employed an increasing number of teachers who have moved from other professions, even though the majority of applicants still have a history in education.

“We’ve seen a lower number of students choosing to study education as their field in college and at the same time, a decrease in the number of people considering going to college,” said Carey Dahncke, executive director of the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning at the University of Indianapolis. “And so we’ve shifted trying to look at how do we lure people from other professions into teaching.”

The number of those applications is to be increased, according to a Statehouse proposal.

A bill sponsored by state representative Dave Heine (R-New Haven) would offer Hoosiers who participate in programs leading to certification as transitional teachers scholarships worth up to $10,000.

“They have their financial obligations,” Heine said. “They have kids at home.”

You must already hold a four-year degree and work for a school in order to qualify. Also, you would need to commit to working as a teacher for at least five years in a district in Indiana.

“In this way, I can continue to work, get my degree and then I can be a full-time teacher,” Heine said.

According to some school administrators, hiring teachers with backgrounds outside of education will increase over the next years.

“We certainly hired a number of teachers from transition-to-teaching programs really in all content areas,” said Harold Olin, superintendent of the Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation. “So I’m actually appreciative of the General Assembly for thinking about us.”

For these scholarships, the program would have a two-year ceiling of $1 million, but Heine said he expects to increase funding in the future if the bill is passed into law.


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