America, rural America in particular, is running out of teachers. You might be asking yourself, "How could this be? Half the people I know are in school studying to become teachers!" While that may be true, the playing field and the career goals all change once that friend of yours is looking down the barrel of massive student loan debt and can't live off of a regular teaching salary, especially in small rural counties throughout America.
After watching this "VICE" video on this very topic, I was pretty overcome with emotion.
Rural America Is Running Out Of Teachers (HBO) www.youtube.com
Educators, including my mother, have been pivotal in my growth and shaping my outlook on the world around me. This profound impact a teacher can potentially leave on a student is true in every community in the country. How is it fair to rationalize that just because teaching is considered a selfless act, that teachers should be paid a barely liveable wage.
We consider lots of other professions to be selfless, but oftentimes the individuals in those professions are paid accordingly. Police officers, doctors, and other trades tend to make a livable wage. Except for teachers.
$35K a year isn't enough to support a family, buy a home or new car, or to grant us any of the things promised in the "American Dream." We NEED to provide more money for public education. We NEED to give educators a reason to get out of bed beyond a good feeling that they're doing the right thing. We NEED to realize that educators are as important to our communities as doctors, police, and firefighters. We NEED to do more for our children.
I honestly made more money managing a GameStop than what most teachers make and I still struggled with having to live check to check. Mind you, I have ZERO children. When we consider how much money we pump into our military, it's mind-boggling to think we can't take a small fraction of that to increase the salaries of public educators throughout the country.
If I knew that becoming a teacher would mean $50-60K a year that would honestly be a job I would consider going after. But even me, someone completely conscious of this disservice we are doing for our children by not ensuring they have the highest quality of education, can't rationalize taking such a small sum of money for such an incredible amount of work. The idea that teachers are simply marking off letter grades in a day planner and not actively shaping young minds is likely part of the problem.
If politicians really want my vote in 2020, this is what they need to be talking about. We need to step up to the plate and provide a better education system for children and teachers alike. So much of the world is already going to shit, let's put our energy and money into developing a generation that gives a shit.