Teachers could receive money to pay loans under proposed bill

A bipartisan group in the Indiana House is working to give some public elementary or high school teachers $9,000 towards their student loans after three consecutive years of teaching.

Teachers would only be eligible if they teach a course in science, technology, engineering or mathematics – known as STEM courses – or in an area of teacher shortage or special education.

They also must have been in the top 20 percent of their high school’s graduating class or in the top twentieth percentile on the SAT or ACT exam, and have graduated from college with a grade point average of at least 3.5.

Rep. Justin Moed, D-Indianapolis, who authored House Bill 1210, said an identical bill passed last year.

“It seeks to help us attract our best and brightest students to lead our classrooms here in Indiana,” Moed said. “It not only incentivizes those students to go into teaching but also to keep them right in Indiana.”

The bill once again passed unanimously through the House Education Committee and was supported by all who testified, including John Barnes, a representative from the Department of Education, and state Superintendent Glenda Ritz.

Sally Sloan, executive director of Indiana Federation of Teachers, said she hopes to see more bills like it in the future.

“We believe that all teachers are critical to education and maybe at some point we can consider adding others in,” Sloan said. “For example, pay K-3 teachers who teach reading because if they didn’t teach reading we certainly wouldn’t have these students who were capable of going into science, math or the other fields.”

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