School Funding So Low, Tulsa Teacher Panhandles for School Supplies
In comparison to their counterparts in most industrialized countries, American teachers continue to be vastly underpaid. Now, massive education cuts have encouraged one public school teacher to panhandle for needed school supplies.
Teresa Danks, a third-grade teacher at Grimes Elementary in Tulsa, Oklahoma has stood with a sign at a major intersection for over a week. “Teacher Needs School Supplies! Anything Helps," the placard reads.
"Education budget cuts in Oklahoma have forced Danks to pay for supplies out of her own $35,000 salary, spending around $2,000 to $3,000 extra each year," Fox 8 reported. "In just six minutes, she made $55 — more than double the amount she makes per hour."
Donations have since poured in, both online and in person, reaching upwards of $25,000 by Tuesday morning. Her new Facebook Page "Begging For Education" aims to raise awareness of the issues she and thousands of other teachers are facing.
“It all adds up week after week and month after month,” Danks said. “So, it’s a huge need.”
The viral campaign was initially inspired by a discussion between the Tulsa teacher and her husband.
"He said... 'I guess, worst-case scenario, you could always get a sign and get on the street corner like a panhandler,' and I said, 'You know what, I'm gonna do that,'" Danks said in a "Fox and Friends" interview early Wednesday.
The Superintendent of El Reno Public Schools is also distraught with the situation as the start of the school year fast approaches.
"My feelings were hurt," he said when he heard of Danks' begging. "I'm a public school graduate from Oklahoma and my feelings were hurt that our teachers are working so hard in the classroom, and they have resorted to standing on a street corner in Tulsa."
"If your feelings are not hurt by that, I think you need to take a look back at where we have been and how we got in the situation," he added.