Are Collective Bargaining Rights For Teachers In Jeopardy?

By Jeff Neumeyer

January 5, 2011 Updated Jan 5, 2011 at 7:16 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Indiana’s public schools are bracing for change that could be coming in the 2011 session of the General Assembly.

Public school teachers are nervous about the future of their collective bargaining rights.

For the first time in a long time, republicans hold big majorities in both the house and senate.

Republican Governor Mitch Daniels sees this as the ideal time to push for vouchers to help families pay for private school tuition, tying teacher evaluations to how well their students do on standardized tests, and to pursue changes in collective bargaining, to give principals more clout in running schools.

State Sen. David Long/(R) Senate President Pro Tem: " The American educational system has not been doing a great job. We intend to enact some reforms, not an anti-teacher thing, but a pro-student set of reforms."

State Rep. Win Moses/(D) Fort Wayne: " I think democrats will feel very strongly about eliminating unions in the State of Indiana and would probably even consider walking out over that if we have to, because that's about the only tool the minority has left."

Senator Long refutes the notion that republicans want to eliminate unions.

He says collective bargaining rights need to be protected, but on wage and benefit issues, not for working conditions.

The state teachers union will watch this session play out with some suspicion.

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