The Indiana State Teachers Association is the state-level advocacy branch of the National Education Association. It acts as the umbrella representative of all of the district level teachers associations in Indiana.
On one level, the ISTA is a lobbying organization that attempts to influence the legislature on behalf of teachers and teachers unions. In recent years, the organization’s policy level initiatives have focused on addressing perceived attacks on public employee unions in the form of limitations on the collective bargaining process.
In 2011, the group led a mass protest against legislation that limited the ability of teachers unions to collectively bargain for anything other than wages and benefits. (That legislation ultimately passed.) Recently, the ISTA’s advocacy efforts have brought the group into direct confrontation with Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett and the Indiana Department of Education.
On another level, the ISTA provides a number of services to its dependent unions. This includes comprehensive liability insurance, legal services for teachers involved in a job related disputes and consultation for unions engaged in collective bargaining. The ISTA is backing Democrat Glenda Ritz in her run for state superintendent against Bennett.