GOP Senate leader says lawmakers viewed as 'anti-teacher' because of teacher pay proposal

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Senate’s leader says the Republican-dominated Legislature is viewed as “anti-teacher” and needs to pause efforts to diminish the collective bargaining authority of teachers’ unions.

Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Long made the comment Thursday before the House considers a bill to grant Indiana school districts the authority to negotiate higher pay with individual teachers. Long says lawmakers need to collaborate with educators before moving forward with the idea, which has drawn intense backlash from teachers’ unions.

Long says lawmakers need to repair their relationship with teachers, which was damaged by education overhaul measures pushed by Republicans in recent years.

Long added that former GOP state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett “flunked charm school” when he aggressively pushed those policies before he lost his 2012 re-election bid.

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