The state of education is dire, and teachers around the country are making sure we know about it. According to a Buzzfeed News report, Mallory Heath, an Arizona teacher, gave her class an assignment that, for her, morphed into a searing open letter to her governor, Doug Ducey, and his lack of commitment to protecting public education.
“She posted it online, where it spread on social media and drew the attention of local news outlets. Just over a year later, in spite of the solidarity she inspired, Heath tearfully submitted her letter of resignation on March 30. Her 11th- and 12th-grade students and staff know she still loves teaching, but she’s told them she can’t stay.”
She can’t stay in her current position because, according to the report, she makes $18,000 below the national median household income, and her income eventually left her with $300 more in bills than income. However, Heath leaving the teaching profession isn’t all that rare.
“Forty-two percent of Arizona teachers hired in 2013 were no longer in public schools by 2016. Heath was determined to beat those odds. She’d wake at 5 a.m., often listen to educational podcasts while driving to school, then grade papers when she got home 12 hours later. She never stopped thinking of ‘my kids,’ as she still calls the students, and sometimes she’d hear from them years later when they let her know she’d helped them endure the painful years of adolescence. So in a sense, her hard work was paying off.”
Heath’s letter to the governor, explaining her experience with a profession she truly loves and has to leave, was brutal.
“Doug. I’m college fucking educated. I can’t even hit a middle class salary? When you slashed budgets across Arizona, I want to know if it was with a smile…I am more than enraged. I am seeing red. When I think about the inequality in teaching, and the apathy associated with it, it makes me want to scream until my voice is gone.”
Last year Governor Ducey announced a 1 percent pay raise for teachers.
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