Teachers Invited To Debate With Local Rep.

By Max Resnik

February 26, 2011 Updated Feb 26, 2011 at 8:18 PM EDT

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Dozens of teachers and some parents met with 83rd District State Rep. Kathy Heuer (R) today to discuss proposed changes to among many other things collective bargaining rights.

The spirited debate touched on a number of topics including collective bargaining rights, teacher evalutations, charter schools and funding for public schools. Heuer said today's forum allowed her to understand why the teachers are fighting many of the bills her party supports. She says in part, "It's truly about whether or not these kids are getting the advantage of the investment they have made in their careers. Whether or not the kids are being lifted up from this. Whether or not more choice is really going to be an advantage to the student."

Heuer, who voted for the Charter Schools Bill, says she doesn't regret her decision to support the charter schools movement. She and other speakers remarks inlcuded the added competition charter schools give to public schools.

The atmosphere of today's forum was relatively calm but members of ISTA came out in force to show their opposition to Governor Mitch Daniels' stance on the public school systems in Indiana.

They fear that proposed changes to funding and evaluations could lump school districts together that have different dynamics. They argue that what might work for students in Gary and Evansville, might not work for students in Fort Wayne or Whitley County.

Linda Phillipp, a teacher says, "We know what we need and the dynamic of the children change all the time and by us being able to go to these people and say, "Here's how you can help us the most," and have that kind of discussion is indespensable."

Many teachers thanked Heuer for her willingness to engage in debate with them. Heuer commented that she recognizes their plea and that she will take what she's learned with her back to Indianapolis.

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