Sunday, May 28, 2017

‘I’m sorry it’s come to this’: Why Oklahoma’s 2016 Teacher of the Year is moving to Texas to work - The Washington Post

‘I’m sorry it’s come to this’: Why Oklahoma’s 2016 Teacher of the Year is moving to Texas to work - The Washington Post:

‘I’m sorry it’s come to this’: Why Oklahoma’s 2016 Teacher of the Year is moving to Texas to work

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Shawn Sheehan is a teacher of special education at Norman High School in Norman, Okla., and he was the 2016 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, as well as a finalist for National Teacher of the Year. Sheehan has been teaching for more than five years, an active member of a profession that he had not expected to join.
Sheehan comes from a military family, and when he was in college, he decided to follow his father into the Air Force. A month before he was commissioned, he was found to have a kidney-related illness that disqualified him. Though he recovered, he was still thought to be too much of a risk and was refused again. In his biography for the Teacher of the Year program, he wrote, “I was heartbroken that I couldn’t serve my country and uncertain of what to do with my life.”
But he found a new purpose. During the summer and in after-school programs, Sheehan had worked with students with disabilities and coached Special Olympics teams. He realized that he could serve his country in a different way — and he became a teacher.
Now he says he can’t think of doing anything else — except not in Oklahoma. Sheehan and his wife, Kaysi Sullivent Sheehan, have accepted teaching jobs in Texas, where salaries for educators are higher. In this post, a version of one he published on his blog and gave me permission to republish, he explains why he and his family are moving and how hard it was to make the decision. He has been weighing the decision publicly on his blog. You can read, for example, this post, “All I Want for Christmas is a Reason to Keep Teaching in Oklahoma. He didn’t find it.
According to a report by the National Education Association this month, the average public school teacher salary in 2016 was $58,353. Oklahoma was ranked 49 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia, with an average salary of $45,276. The top average salary was in New York, at $79,152. And Oklahoma ranked 44th in expenditures for public K-12 students per student in average daily attendance.
My Post colleague Emma Brown wrote a story about the financial difficulties facing public ‘I’m sorry it’s come to this’: Why Oklahoma’s 2016 Teacher of the Year is moving to Texas to work - The Washington Post:

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