Oklahoma Teachers Unable to Make Ends Meet on Current Pay
With Oklahoma being one of the states bringing up the rear nationally in teachers' pay, many Oklahoma teachers are having to rely on multiple jobs or even government assistance to get by.
Teacher Lisa Newman is continuing her family's legacy of education, with both of her parents being former educators in California. As teachers, Lisa's parents made enough to live comfortably and raise four children. But for Lisa, a 39-year-old single mother of two, pay for Oklahoma teachers is so low that she's been forced to move back in with her parents. Having two children in daycare puts such a strain on Lisa's finances that her monthly take home is less than $1,000.
Lisa notes that teachers must be extremely educated and prepared for their profession, and the financial compensation is nothing short of insulting, a sentiment shared by other teachers in the state. Alicia Priest with the Oklahoma Education Association has spoken out about full-time educators being forced to apply for government assistance, telling Fox 25,
To be a professional, working a professional job, working 40 hours plus a week and to qualify for food stamps is demoralizing.
Unfortunately, help from legislators seems to be in short supply. Priest has spoken with many of the state lawmakers and is regularly told that they are working on it or that the teachers knew what they were getting themselves into.