ISSUES 

For Students 
  • Increase per pupil funding to levels comparable to our neighboring states.

    • ​Per pupil funding in Indiana is lower than all its neighboring states. 

      • With 0.7% of the $2.27 billion surplus, we can lower Indiana’s student-to-counselor ratio and encourage additional school psychologists and social workers, providing students with the wrap-around support they need to be successful. 

    • With more per pupil funding, districts can allocate more money to teacher salaries.

      • If a school district feels that they need to spend funding on capital improvements, then the state needs to provide more funding so that our school buildings are in good condition and our teachers can receive higher pay.

      • Spending money on capital improvements DOES bring money into the classroom; fixing a ceiling is money well spent in the classroom. 

      • Teachers, administrators, and capital improvement professionals all work to improve student learning; all funds spent on these professionals and their endeavors benefit student learning.  

      • All dollars spent on schools are going “to the classroom” because all education professionals work to improve student learning. 

  • End the A-F school grading system for schools.

    • Our schools and communities are more complex than a single letter grade.

    • We need to adopt growth-based accountability, which can include any of the following metrics:

      • Assessments that measure how much students improve, like NWEA 

      • School climate

      • A well-rounded curriculum

      • Advanced course offerings, including courses in the skilled trades 

      • Extracurricular offerings 

      • Integration of technology

For Teachers 
  • Increase teacher salaries using surplus funds.

    • Indiana has a $2.27 billion surplus. By spending 3.7% of the surplus on education, we can raise teacher salaries and reimburse teachers or universities for the cost of courses required to teach our students the most rigorous dual credit classes.

    • Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois are all ranked as top states for teachers because of class sizes and teacher pay. Teachers who are from Indiana or educated here may not stay here.

    • In 2019, Governor Holcomb signed into law no appropriation for educator pay raises.

  • Restore collective bargaining rights to teachers.

    • Teachers deserve the ability to bargain for class size.

  • Instead of evaluating teachers based on student test scores, evaluate teachers based on the following:

    • Student growth data

    • Certifications

    • Leadership initiatives

    • Mentor input

    • Teacher portfolios

    • Implementing a new piece of curriculum each year

      • Project-based learning

      • Service-learning

      • New unit plans and summative assessments 

  • Provide mentors to teachers who receive “needs improvement” or “ineffective.” 

    • Teachers who struggle need support, not punishment. 

    • Increase accountability for schools receiving vouchers 

      • Schools receiving tax dollars in the form of vouchers should be held to the same financial and academic accountability standards as neighborhood public schools. 

  • Require financial and policy transparency for all schools that receive state funding, including charter schools. 

    • Reports showing that virtual charter schools received $68 million from lying about their enrollment numbers show the need for greater financial transparency. 

  • Require pay increases for teachers who hold advanced degrees.

For Indiana 
  • As State Representative, I will see to it that the legislature leads police reform efforts by enacting the evidence-based policies of groups such as Campaign Zero and 8 Can't Wait, including the following: 

    • Requiring de-escalation​

    • Banning chokeholds 

    • Requiring a warning before shooting 

    • Implementing a "duty to intervene," meaning that officers who are present during incidents of excessive force are required to help stop them and to report them. 

    • Funding community oversight of police officers by creating a Civilian Complaint Office. 

  • We will improve quality of life by doing the following: 

    • ​Raising Indiana's minimum wage

      • The current wage of $7.25 has not kept up with inflation.

    • Increasing the income eligibility threshold for Indiana's state health insurance program, HIP 2.0, so that our uninsured rate lowers and more folks have access to healthcare services.

    • Providing new parent education and a pack-and play to families receiving Medicaid who experience the birth of a child. This is one way of working to lower Indiana's infant mortality rate. 

    • Exempting breast pumps from sales tax.  

  • We will encourage environmental sustainability and combat climate change ​by doing the following: 

    • Repealing the net metering law that discourages individuals from generating solar power

    • Offering incentives for the installation of solar panels

Michael attending the #RedForEd protest at the Allen County Courthouse
One of Michael's signs for   #RedFor Ed action day. 
Thousands of educators and supporters rally at the State House 

 Email: bienz4rep@gmail.com 

Phone: 260-209-4677
  
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