Conservative teacher describes frustrations with Republicans

To The Editor:

The article from Monday, March 31 (“OK teachers’ union and allies contend public education spending is weak, but is it”?) posted on CapitolBeatOK caused me to wonder about the forty-nine percent increase in administrative spending mentioned.

The first explanation that came to mind was the mandatory hiring of REACH coaches for districts implementing Common Core. While these traveling literacy coaches have been informative, I would rather have had the $4,924 that CapitolBeatOK said could have been added to teachers’ salaries had these administrative positions not been created.

I did not get the impression, while at the rally, that teacher pay was the fundamental reason for most teachers being there. As a teacher, I believe most of us are tired of the decrease in spending per student and the complete lack of respect from our state superintendent. The increase in students per classroom is one of our main frustrations. Classroom management takes up too much time and students’ needs as individuals are not met.

All that being said, low salary is a serious concern.  I have been a teacher for 9 years.  I have a graduate degree in Curriculum/Instruction with ESL certification and highly qualified status. I make $35,000 a year. I am making the same amount now, in Oklahoma, that I was paid my first year of teaching with a B.A. in Kansas. Had I remained in Kansas, I would be making $49,000.

I don’t know how to make lawmakers understand that when I began teaching, I felt like a professional and I was able to buy meat for my family. Lean ground beef was $2.30 per pound. Now that I am treated like an overpaid babysitter, my morale is low and I pass the lean ground beef at $3.55 per pound and buy the pinto beans for $1.00 per pound.

I’m a conservative. I usually vote conservative. This year will be different, because I’m hungry.

Julie Crowe, Claremore Public Schools

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