Groups which often disagree on education are uniting behind a proposed scholarship to coax more top students into teaching careers.
House Republicans have made the scholarship bill a priority this session.
It would offer students in the top 20-percent of their high school class as much as $30,000 for college, in exchange for a commitment to teach for five years afterward.
The scholarship proposal drew support from teachers' unions, education reform groups, State Board of Education members and state school superintendent Glenda Ritz.
Ashley Gibson with the education-reform group “Stand for Children” says the scholarship proposal addresses a critical need.
“House Bill 1002 continues to build a foundation to have excellent teachers in front of our students, so providing support to students committed to entering the teaching profession helps ensure that, in the future, we have a greater supply of teachers so all Indiana students have access to quality teachers,” Gibson says.
Indiana Department of Education spokesman John Barnes says while the scholarship plan wasn’t part of state school superintendent Glenda Ritz’s legislative agenda, the superintendent supports it as a way to attract more teachers.
“The teachers are not in it for the money, but teachers do end up being affected by the same economic pressures that many of us are affected by today and to try to make sure that that’s not a barrier for the best and brightest to get into the profession,” Barnes says.
The bill doesn't include money to pay for the scholarships, however.
Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis), who authored the proposal, envisions allocating $1.5-million to fund 200 scholarships, but says that discussion would wait for the budget bill next year.