According to the Brookings Institute, American teachers are severely underpaid when compared to teachers around the world. Teachers in Luxembourg for example, are paid just less than 80 percent more than American teachers. In France, it’s 55 percent, and in England, 20 percent more.
Despite this low pay, it’s often expected of teachers to buy some classroom supplies with their own money. That’s the case for Teresa Danks, a third grade teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Danks told FOX23 that as a result of budget cuts, she’s spending between $2,000 and $3,000 of her $35,000 salary on supplies for students that the state doesn’t provide.
Obviously, spending a tenth of your income on pens and pencils is unsustainable, so on Wednesday, Danks decided to ask the public for help by panhandling on the side of road.
Danks said that she made $55 in about six minutes, but the sign wasn’t about the money. Danks says she wants to raise awareness to budget cuts, and the fact that teachers in Oklahoma are among the worst paid in the nation.
Danks said that she’s been a teacher since 1996, and that the problem just keeps getting worse. “It all adds up week after week and month after month,” Danks said. “So, it’s a huge need.”
“I mean, we are begging. We don’t want to call it that, but this kind of shows that it is,” Danks told WCVB5, adding that teachers across the country are suffering from budget cuts.