Consumer Watch: The strange item that is a luxury for Oklahoma teachers
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
Students are not the only ones headed back to school, teachers are prepping their classroom, and though some state provide stipends for that, it is not how it works for many Oklahoma districts.
Oklahoma teachers are still some of the lowest paid in the nation, but many of them still have to spend their own money just to teacher your children. Every worker needs certain things to do their job, and for Oklahoma teachers something as simple as paper is a luxury.
“I had a message from a friend in Idabel that said they just had a teacher resign today to go teach in Arkansas and they gave them a $500 school supply stipend to start the year, every teacher. We cannot compete with that," says Alicia Priest, Oklahoma Education Association President.
Priest also worked as a teacher in Yukon, and says teachers in Oklahoma love what they do, and believe in educating children, but the stress of low pay and low funding for education does start to weigh on people. Oklahoma teachers can spend 300 dollars to buy extra supplies at the start of the year for children whose families can't afford it, or for things like student snacks and extra paper.
If a person or business wants to donate something, those are often sought after.
“I don't know a teacher or support professional that, one, would turn away any kind of supplies that a parent or community member or a business came and gave them,” says Priest.
Parents can help in other ways too. Some recommendations for forming a team with your child's teacher include regular communication and volunteering at the school. The simplest thing parents can actually do is let their child's teacher know that you understand the statewide situation, and that you appreciate that they come in and do the best job they can anyway.