I am a proud product of, and advocate for, Indiana’s public schools. After graduating from Tippecanoe School Corporation’s McCutcheon High School in Lafayette, I was accepted to Indiana State University—founded in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War to train educators for the nation’s then-new system of common schools—where I graduated with a bachelor in music education cum laude. I taught music for a year in TSC before moving to Columbus and teaching for three years in Decatur County Community Schools, where I taught elementary, junior high, and high school bands as a South Decatur Cougar.

In 2018, I moved to Indianapolis to begin graduate studies at Butler University. I completed my master of music in 2020. After a year of substitute teaching, I began teaching social studies in Indianapolis where I remain. I have seen education in Indiana at all levels, from elementary to post-secondary, all across the state, from rural, to suburban and urban areas. In every school, I have seen deeply caring educators working tirelessly in the interests of their students. Contrary to political opponents of workers’ collective struggle, union leaders have been the most self-sacrificing teachers I have had the joy of working with.

The Constitution of Indiana charges the state “to provide, by law, for a general and uniform system of Common Schools, wherein tuition shall be without charge, and equally open to all.” But in 2022, the very institution of public schooling is under heavy assault, with the state’s supermajority legislature seeking to divide Hoosiers by denying equal access to trans students. That same supermajority withholds billions in much-needed funding from schools, even as the state enjoys a sizable surplus. Endless attacks exacerbate a revolving door of teachers leaving aging schools. A different path forward is desperately needed.