Sunday, July 2, 2017

Oklahoma's 2016 Teacher Of The Year Leaves For Better Pay In Texas : NPR Ed : NPR

Oklahoma's 2016 Teacher Of The Year Leaves For Better Pay In Texas : NPR Ed : NPR:

Teacher Of The Year In Oklahoma Moves To Texas For The Money



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About exactly a year ago we brought you the story of Shawn Sheehan, Oklahoma's 2016 Teacher of the Year.
At the time, he and about 40 other educators were running for office in the state, wanting to make a change because, as Sheehan puts it, lawmakers weren't prioritizing education. Funding for schools in the state has been cut tremendously over the past decade and teachers in Oklahoma are some of the lowest paid in the country.
"And unfortunately, it didn't go the way that we had wanted," he says.
Sheehan, a math teacher, didn't win that race. In the end, only five of the 40 educators actually took office.
Despite, he still hung on to hope that legislators this session would come up with enough funding to give teachers a raise.
Then, "things went south pretty quickly," Sheehan says. He held his breath while lawmakers duked it out, but in the end, there was no additional money for public schools, or their teachers.
Now he says he just can't make ends meet anymore teaching in Norman, Okla.
So, he's leaving for Texas.
Over the past few years, thousands of public school teachers in Oklahoma, like Sheehan, have left the state for better pay and less stress (fewer classes, smaller classes, less instruction time). It's gotten so bad that the state department of education has had to issue emergency teacher certifications to replace teachers as quickly as possible.
Across the state, textbooks are out of date, electives have been eliminated, and support positions are being terminated left and right.
"It feels good because I know I'm doing the right thing for my family, but it also feels sad."
Sheehan and his wife are both public school teachers. Supporting just two people, he says they could make the money work. Together they brought in about $3,600 a month. "So, after all bills are paid, we're sitting on about Oklahoma's 2016 Teacher Of The Year Leaves For Better Pay In Texas : NPR Ed : NPR:

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