Are we a teacher union?
No, we are not a union. We do not support special interest groups, contribute to political fund raising, support candidates in elections, hold our members captive, intimidate those who aren't "with the program", support controversial issues in school curriculum or force an agenda onto our students. We are a Professional Association supporting effective teachers and staff in their passion to provide the best education possible in the best environment possible for our students.
Why should I become a member here instead of my teacher union?
Aside from the answer to #1 above, the cost for an Indiana teacher to join their local union in Indiana is often between $800 - $1200 and more a year. This includes their local dues, ISTA (state) dues and NEA (national) dues. You, as a teacher, have no say in how these political machines spend your money. You pay for all of their activities from the salaries of your local representatives to state and national conventions activities to supporting candidates on all levels of government to funding politically motivated contributions on the national level to special interest groups. This often causes an ethical conflict because your personal values and beliefs may not agree with the funding the NEA gives to other organizations. And the sad part is, because of their special tax filing, they don't have to disclose to you how they spend your money.
IPE is only $107.00 a year. We use every dime to support our members and our members only in their quest to prepare the leaders of tomorrow. We provide the same protection coverage that the union does without the hassles, grievances, arbitration and politics.
I need a union rep at school if I have a problem, don't I?
No, you don't need a union rep if you have a problem. Indiana has been very pro-active with protecting teachers and has enacted many laws to allow teachers to safely and effectively practice their craft. If you are called in for a meeting, get as much information in advance as possible. Even though the union at your school may have a bargaining agreement there, you are not required to use them as representation. Use another IPE member there or a friend of your choosing. Administration cannot and should not force union representation on you. Indiana Law is very clear on this. For more information on handling disciplinary or exploratory meetings with administration, contact us.
How do I understand teacher evaluations?
Indiana joined the education reform movement several years ago and along becoming a Right-to-Work state is giving good teachers a chance to shine and finally holding ineffective teachers accountable - just like any business in America does. And before you charge that schools are not businesses, they are. They are in the education business and provide a service to customers. The cost of this service is borne by the taxpayers and as employees, we need to ensure that we produce quality education to our students and return the investment to our stakeholders.
Each school system has chosen its evaluation model (Rise, Marzano, etc.) and by now should be in full effect. Indiana Law mandates rewarding teachers based upon their personal performance in ratings of "Highly effective", "Effective", "Needs Improvement" and "Ineffective". Please keep in mind that since this is fairly new and administrators are in a learning curve, expect a period of adjustment. No longer do we rely on a union contract giving the best teachers the same amount of salary increase as the worst peforming teachers. When ineffective administrators are given evaluation privileges, they may try using it to their advantage if their school is not performing well and it can be a wild ride. Administrators looking to protect themselves may try and shift the blame to the good teachers, especially those they perceive as vulnerable because they're not in the union. Don't let this happen. If you find yourself in this situation, contact us.
Why won't they let me be on school committees?
You CAN be on school committees without being a union member. Committees CANNOT be exclusive union representation anymore. This is not only an unethical practice but now it is illegal. If your school system is deeply ingrained with the union, they may only allow a percentage on non-union members on committees but that number has to be aligned with the percentage of all teachers in your district not in the union. So for example, if 20% of teachers in your district are not in the union, the minimum number of non-union teachers on committees has to equal at least 20% of that committee membership as well.
What does IPE offer me that the union can't?
Peace of mind, for starters.
Then, recognition and gratitude.
We understand the intense, life-long training you give and receive, the sacrifices you make for your students and the incredibly high standards you are held to every day. We respect and honor that professionalism and thank you for being a teacher.
Our liability insurance is quality and our accompanying legal resources are top-notch. We have the same liability insurance at a fraction of the cost. In this day and age when parents can be out of touch with their children's education and students empower themselves to push the envelope in the classroom, a teacher needs reassurance that they are protected against false claims or unexpected accidents or events. You do the best you can everyday, trying to change lives and insuring your students are prepared for college and career. Teachers are unsung heroes. Yet, they are the front lines and when someone is unhappy, all fingers point to teachers first.
We also won't bug you about attending meetings and voting on contracts that have already been decided upon. We treat you as an the important individual you are and not as an anonymous number in the masses.
We pass along legislation that affects your career so you can be informed for yourself and not reliant on someone else's interpretation.
We do NOT support political candidates, special interest groups or fund organizations with agendas that have no place in school curriculum. We do not insult you or put a "guilt trip" on you if you don't want to join. It's entirely your choice!
How do I join IPE?
Teachers, administrators, psychologists, counselors and other licensed and/or certified professionals who work in the education environment are eligible to join IPE as a professional member at a cost of $107.00/year (so much less than union dues!) Students in college studying to become a licensed teacher are also eligible to join as a student member. Our honored retired teachers who want to keep abreast of legislation and support the ideals of IPE may join as Associate members. Finally, support staff in school who work with students each day and are licensed or have a certification that enables them to hold that position may apply for membership as an Affiliate member.
Complete the appropriate application on the membership page and send in your membership fee with that completed application to:
Indiana Professional Educators, Inc., 128 So. East Street #200, Crown Point, IN 46307 via snail mail
or scan and send via email to: indianaprofessional firstname.lastname@example.org and send your membership fee to us via online bill pay through your bank or Paypal.
Note: Affiliate members must also send in a copy of their license/certification with their application for consideration.
We will contact you when we receive your membership application. In the meantime, feel free to contact us at our email with any questions or concerns!
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