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New Indiana lawmakers to focus on workforce development, healthcare and education



Indianapolis, Indiana – Indiana is among the states that have faced serious teacher shortages in recent years. The teacher shortage became much more problematic with the start of the pandemic nearly three years ago, when many teachers across the state decided to quit their jobs. The shortage is not only seen in public schools, but private schools statewide are also heavily impacted by this trend.

According to data provided by the Indiana State Department of Education in September, there were approximately 1,700 open teaching jobs, and another 1,300 non-teaching jobs at the start of the current school year. Per the Indiana State Department of Education’s online job portal, there are currently more than 2,700 open job positions.

The teacher shortage has occurred due to two main reasons: an increasing number of teachers leaving their jobs, especially during the pandemic, and a downward trend in the number of teachers entering the profession over the last decade. In 2014, around 6,000 people entered the profession, while only 4,000 did so in 2020.

During the Indiana Statehouse’s organization day on Tuesday, new lawmakers in both the house and senate discussed key issues they intend to address through legislation. Education was noted as one of the three key issues among workforce development and healthcare. Hopefully, things will get better in the years to come.

Lawmakers didn’t provide more details on what they plan to do to improve education, healthcare, and workforce development. During House Speaker Todd Huston’s speech, teachers gathered outside the Indiana Statehouse in an effort to inform Indiana lawmakers what they think should improve in the near future to make the public school system better.

According to the teachers, the three most important things Indiana lawmakers should focus on are teacher shortages, pay raises, and removing politics from the classroom. These three problems were also noted as most important by the American Federation of Teachers earlier this year. Low salaries are the biggest concern for the majority of teachers, as they look forward to having their salaries increased to meet the rising cost of living.

“Indiana has always been a leader in parental choice and empowerment and we are going to build on that success,” House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) said. “Every Hoosier parent should have an opportunity to send their child a school of their choice.”

Speaker Houston stated that he expects lower health care costs as well as an improved health care system in Indiana as a result of more aggressive investments in the sector. Houston added that workforce development is another key focus, and he expects to see improvement in this field with more funding. Houston then mentioned the inflation, rising cost of living, and shared his opinion on reducing income taxes to help people beat the inflation.

“Record inflation continues to impact the cost of everything from what we eat to the heat in our home,” Huston said. “It’s all due to the ballooning size of the federal government but that’s not Indiana. ”

Republican senate leaders say they plan to release their list of priorities sometime next month. The 2023 legislative session will be longer than last year because lawmakers will need to approve a new budget.

Lawmakers will reconvene for their regular session on January 9.

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