Less lucrative salaries may be partly to blame for Indiana's teacher shortage.
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - The U.S. Department of Education says teachers in Indiana earn notably less money now than they did 20 years ago.
According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Department of Education says Indiana’s inflation-adjusted teacher pay has fallen since the 1999-2000 school year to the point where teachers now earn almost 16 percent less. Nationally, teacher salaries are 1.6 percent below the 1999 level.
Experts say this is driving the shortage of teachers in the Hoosier state. Some education experts say the demands made in the classroom are increasing as pay decreases.
The proof may lie in Indiana Commission for Higher Education data, which shows those graduating with teaching degrees declined 37 percent from 2004 to 2014.
A survey of the past three years by Indiana State University professor Terry McDaniel was released last October. It confirms superintendents statewide are experiencing more difficulty finding teachers, with 94 percent of the state’s 141 school districts experiencing difficulty filling open teacher positions.
Indiana lawmakers have been experimenting with ways to increase the number of teachers being produced at state universities. The New Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship Program approved in 2016 awards up to $7,500 per year for students who commit to teacher in Indiana for at least five years.
A new law passed this year, Senate Enrolled Act 387, allows for supplemental pay for STEM subject teachers, as well as those who earn additional degrees or certifications.