Letter to the NC General Assembly: I Can No Longer Afford to Teach

Dear members of the North Carolina General Assembly,

The language in this letter is blunt because the facts are not pretty. Teaching is my calling, a true vocation, a labor of love, but I can no longer afford to teach.

I moved to North Carolina to teach and to settle in to a place I love. My children were born here; we have no plans to leave. I reassured my family in Michigan, shocked at my paltry pay and health benefits, that North Carolina had an established 200 year history of placing a high value on public education and that things would turn around soon.

When I moved here and began teaching in 2007, $30,000 was a major drop from the $40,000 starting salaries being offered by districts all around me in metro Detroit, but it was fine for a young single woman sharing a house with roommates and paying off student loans. However, over six years later, $31,000 is wholly insufficient to support my family. So insufficient, in fact, that my children qualify for and use Medicaid as their medical insurance, and since there is simply no way to deduct $600 per month from my meager take-home pay in order to include my husband on my health plan, he has gone uninsured. We work opposite shifts to eliminate childcare costs.

The public discourse on public assistance is that it is a stop-gap, a safety net to keep people from falling until they can get back on their feet. But as I see no end in sight to the assault on teacher pay, I will do what I have to do to support my family financially. We never wanted or expected to live in luxury. We did, however, hope to be able to take our little girls out for an ice cream or not wonder where we will find the gas money to visit their grandparents. And so, even though I am a great teacher from a family of educators and public servants and never imagined myself doing anything else, I am desperately seeking a way out of the classroom, and nothing about education in North Carolina breaks my heart more.

I will make no apologies for saying that I am a great teacher. I run an innovative classroom where the subject matter is relevant and the standards are high. My teaching practice has resulted in consistently high evaluations from administrators, positive feedback from parents, and documented growth in students.

I realize that no one in Raleigh will care or feel the impact when this one teacher out of 80,000 leaves the classroom. I understand. However, my 160 students will feel the impact. And 160 the next year. And the next. My Professional Learning Community, teachers around the county with whom I collaborate, will be impacted, and their students as well. Young teachers become great when they are mentored by experienced, effective educators, and all their students are impacted as well. When quality teachers leave the classroom, the loss of mentors is yet another effect. This is how the quiet and exponential decline in education happens.

Higher teacher pay may be unpopular, and I am aware it is difficult to see the connection between teacher pay and a quality education for students, so I will try to make it clear. Paying me a salary on which I can live means I can stay in the classroom, and keeping me in the classroom means thousands of students over the next decade would get a quality education from me. It’s that simple.

While I appreciate that Governor McCrory is advocating for a 1% raise for teachers in the coming school year, it is simply not enough. For me, that is $380, which after years of pay freezes, does not cover the negative change in my health coverage and copays. It does not cover the change in the cost of a gallon of milk, a gallon of heating oil, or a unit of electricity. It is not enough. A sobering fact: even a 20% raise would fall short of bringing me up to the 2007 pay scale for my current step, and that is in 2007 dollars.

My students deserve a great, experienced teacher. As a professional with two degrees and four certifications, I deserve to make an honest living serving my community and this state.

Respectfully,

Lindsay Kosmala Furst

————————————–

I was very afraid to write this letter. People have strong feelings about several of the topics herein, these things tend to take on a life of their own in the internet age, and “going public” means, of course, that when I go back to school next month, I may have to face students who know these quite personal details of my life. While I would not be leaving teaching as a statement or protest of any kind (what I really want to do is teach), I realized that the silent turnover that would happen serves no purpose at all, and that I need to at least let someone know. I’m not sure what kind of reckless abandon overcame me when I went ahead and sent the letters to both the General Assembly and the Raleigh News & Observer, but I knew that once it was out, there was no getting it back.

I feel like I have come out of secrecy. My cards are on the table. This is the reality of being a young teacher in NC right now. We expect recent college grads to suck it up and deal with low pay for a year or two. We expect that at 30, however, young teachers may be starting families or wanting to buy houses. The fact is that those of us who began here in 2007 are only making a few hundred dollars per year more today than when we started, and our benefits have been slashed, negating even that small increase.

With a heavy heart, I have realized that if I want to remain in the classroom, I will have to leave the state. If I want to remain in this state, the place that I chose to be my home, I will have to leave the classroom. At the same time, this advocate of public education is left wondering what will be left for my children when they start school. I can’t express how deeply saddening it is to think that about my own field.

Since this was reported earlier this week, I have received many messages of encouragement. At least a dozen are from other mothers in my position, teaching full time with children on Medicaid and/or WIC, the nutrition assistance program for women, infants, and young children. They thanked me for telling their story as well. So many are afraid to stand up and speak. The public negativity directed at teachers right now is overwhelming, and it is no surprise that many do not want to enter the fray. I cannot blame them. But since I already have, I will do my best to represent them as well.

Thank you for your support.

———

Update 1: WOW! I am overwhelmed by the response I have received. Thank you, thank you. Your support is incredible. Thank you for sharing your own stories here, as well. I am reading every single one of them.

Let me say this: While I appreciate difference of opinion, I will not be approving abusive comments. If you see one that has slipped by, please let me know. Thank you.

———-

Update 2: You guys. Honestly, you bring tears to my eyes. I’m heartbroken to see so many of you feeling the same way. If you want to leave a comment, please scroll to the very bottom where it says “Leave a Reply.”

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814 thoughts on “Letter to the NC General Assembly: I Can No Longer Afford to Teach

  1. Thank God for you, your letter and all teachers like you. You do have support from the majority of North Carolinians and this General Assembly and this Governor are unfortunately grossly out of step. Change will come with the next election.

  2. I have read all these notes and I am so sad for my grandson . He finished UNC with a degree . Not what he wanted so he felt he wanted to teach and is now going for he master to teach K through 8 . Wonder what now will happen . Please say a prayer for all teachers . We need good one.

  3. Well said. Teachers have to have a 4 year education plus take numerous courses in methodology and pedagogy. Many teachers go back to school for a Masters or more and i they must pay for it themselves. No such thing as a paid sabbatical. the real money is in the adminstration. Everyone thinks they can do your job so why should you get paid what you do? It’s just a sad situation that the lack of respect for the profession is taken as the norm. Hang tough!

  4. Your letter is heartbreaking to read. Other than parents, I feel that teachers come in a close second in importance to our children and as such should be paid accordingly. I wonder what would happen if all the teachers just walked out until they were fairly paid? I wish I had something brilliant to say here but I don’t know what the answer is. Know that you all are in my prayers and petitions. This country is really on the wrong track.

  5. Well, before anyone answers, I got my answer. The lottery supposedly is only for “infrastructure”. Really? And I also see “administrators” make a lot more than teachers. Is this truly the imbalance?

  6. I thought N.C. had an “educational” lottery? Where is that money going? I have been in the military for the last 20 years. I am an adjunct here in P.A. where the pay is ok, but I was looking forward to teaching at home in N.C. My family and everyone else I know is always playing the lottery, what gives?

  7. Hi Lindsay, I work with your friend from high school Phil K., and we discussed this entire situation. I too was a teacher. I have always straddled the boundaries between researcher and teacher. My entire career path was set because of my physics teacher in high school not only teaching a superb curriculum, but also because of the time spent outside of class where we talked science, hiking, college, etc. almost every day during the week. It was always my hope that as a teacher I too would have students who would let me mentor them as I was mentored. And I was incredibly fortunate to have a few; and they still remain in touch with me. For me, the general public loses sight of this aspect of teaching. It is terribly saddening future students will not have that time with you, and other teachers in your position. I am sorry you are being coerced to leave your vocation. That is a hard pill to swallow and you are a strong person for sharing your story and writing the above words. My very best wishes to you and your family.

  8. Thank you for having the courage to “go public.” What a disgrace this country is when it comes to education- and when will it change? Why are our educators paid top dollar – this is our future – yet lawyers, real estate and many other occupations are paid top dollar and who are they improving- what are they giving back? I am not a teacher – after 28 yrs as a firefighter, my husband became a teacher – seemed like it took forever for him to complete his education. At times, it was one course a semester – but he finally did it! It will probably take the rest of his life to repay his student loans (he is now 62). This past January, he finally completed his masters. He loves teaching and coaching, but it’s with his retirement and 2 other jobs that he can AFFORD to teach at the local college in our community – and I also work as a RN! It amazes me how little our society and government really care about education. Yes, they will give lip service, but as they say, talk is cheap. Put your money where your mouth is – hopefully maybe this will change and give our children a better future as well as the future generations. I sincerely hope you can find a position where you are paid a decent salary which you can live on as well as have a decent good life with your family. Thank you for your courage and your passion for teaching – as well as all you have given. You and your family deserve more and far better.

  9. I believe, Lindsay, you speak for all of us teachers. I am from New England and am facing the same issue: I cannot find a job, period, never mind one that will pay what I actually deserve. I also have a Master’s and several certifications, and now I’m “too expensive”. I actually moved back from Colorado, who pays about as much as you mentioned NC pays. Pay freezes were on round three when I was there, and it’s no way to try and live. Just this week, I have solemnly decided I need a career change. Standards, lack of funds, paying for supplies on my own, rude students, etc, etc, have all taken a toll on this teacher. What kind of life is it to suffer through your vocation? There has to be more than that in this life… I wish you the best of luck.

  10. Maybe it is time to make cuts across the country where they really need to be made…at the top where we are toppling from huge salaries & bonuses while those in the trenches are steam-rolled

  11. The comment from ‘aussieteacher84 saddens me.. Good for the education system in Australia. Sad for the education system in the USA. Several years ago i moved to a different city in Ohio. Because I came with 14 yrs. of experience and a Masters Degree,I was not hired. I can relate to the fact that money is more important then the experience and educational level of a teachers. I found a very rewarding job in a private school. I worked for the love of my calling in life and not the money. All of this would not have been possible if my husband hadn’t had a job with medical benefits. I think it is terrible that a teacher has to be on public assistance of any kind. That is NOT right for the person who is teaching our children. Once again we do not teach for the money but, we do need to be able to provide for ourselves and our family.

  12. I’m in the process of moving to NC for personal reasons, and am terrified that I won’t be able to make ends meet as a teacher. I have 8 years experience, and will be making 30% less than I did 2 years ago in WA state (with less experience). Thank you for speaking up!

  13. Many of our Police Officers and Fire Fighters feel your pain in regards to salary, I’ve always said that these three positions should be some of the highest paid in the country, but they never will, good luck to you and every teacher in similar situations!

  14. Don’t worry folks, Obama has now decided to fix the economy (in addition to already fixing healthcare). By the way, the cost of living index does not include fuel and food, so you really don’t have that much greater expenses- or is that just government math distorting reality?

  15. My heart is with you! It’s the same here in Indiana. I’ve not had a raise in five years, yet all the bills/insurance/tuition keeps going up. Many younger teachers here now are just realizing that they won’t be able to afford to buy a house (even though they’re teachers). Many older teachers are retiring early, as soon as they can. Many are willing to retire without full benefits because of all the negative changes to education. Those of us in the middle of our careers feel trapped; we can’t quit but we’re too young to retire. God bless you and thank you for speaking up.

  16. Thank you, Lindsay. I heard you in Black Mountain’s Moral Sunday and I heard you in Raleigh at Moral Monday. Your voice, your message is resonating because you are speaking truth to (out of touch? ignorant? mean-spirited? misguided?) power and you are channeling the experience and voices of many. Thank you, thank you. I have sent photos for you to Dawn whom I traveled with to Raleigh yesterday. My best to you and your family…you are ALL heroes!

  17. Our hearts go out to you and the rest of the teachers. You are the ones who shape the minds of our children. Hoping things turn out.

  18. It is heartbreaking that good teachers leave the profession as the wage is ridiculously low. We have no value on what is important in the US. Look at other nations – they are smacking us down in every area due to short-sighted thinking. We are more concerned about what folks do in private than fixing our infrastructure, improving schools, creating healthy, functioning citizens. I hope this next election we vote every single incumbant out! We need a fresh start America.

  19. I’m a former first grade and kindergarten teacher; I recently quit to take care of my children, as my paycheck wouldn’t pay enough for daycare. I loved teaching, and still talk to my former students, even the ones from thirteen years ago. I don’t know if it will ever be worthwhile to go back. And it makes me sad, because I worked with high poverty students and saw incredible gains in their lives. I hope maybe, when my children are older, it might pay enough to be worth returning. Bravo to you for writing this!

    (And for those who complain about the retirement plan–pay me a livable wage, and I’ll gladly save for my own retirement!)

  20. I have been teaching for over 35 years. In the beginning I was proud, when asked what I did, to say to others that I was a teacher! There was honor in choosing a profession that is rated as one of the top ten most stressful jobs. Those who asked often responded with, “I don’t know how you do it!”. I always felt that “doing it” was a true accomplishment and one I was extremely proud of achieving. Since coming to NC eight years ago to teach I have seen a slow and now very rapid decline in the respect once given to educators. Today, in NC, we are considered the “enemy”. Teachers have been devalued and demoralized right out of our profession by the very people that got where they are today because of teachers that cared! Today when asked what I do, I simply say that I teach, despite the fact that no one else seems to care whether I teach well or NOT! I am now happy to say that I am looking forward to retiring sooner then expected in a few years–I can’t take the abuse from our NC legislature much longer. I, like other teachers, am more deserving of repect, concideration, and honor than our current governor and legislature seems to think!
    Donna Bowles

  21. Thank you for writing what so many of us are thinking. I started teaching late in life & thought I would do it until I retire. I love what I do. But I am not able to make ends meet each month and for the first time in 6 years I am considering leaving teaching. It makes me sad.

  22. Truthfully the only way to make America great again is to teach our youth math, and cost benefit analysis. A subject completely lost on our current political system.

  23. I type this with tears in my eyes. I too am ashamed and embarassed by the North Carolina legislature and their negative attitudes that affect how we all live. When our children were young and doing without many of the extras of other financially entitled children we taught them the one thing others could not take from them is their education. It was theirs to use as they were called to do when grown. Professionally, they have excelled in their ability to teach others from pre school through graduate school. What are our legislators doing? Who/What are they teaching? I often wonder if our legislators including the govenor could live for one month on what they ask others to live on plus do their job as well and to excel in the process. It is so easy to take away from others when you’ve not experienced their needs. Our teachers are there to empower our children. Unfortunately, the ones who are “in power” choose to deny others so much younger a minimal opportunity to grow, develope and learn. Thank you to all who dedicate their lives to educate future generations.

  24. Pingback: Tuesday Links! | Gerry Canavan

  25. Paul if they paid me hourly for the time I actually put in I would be able to afford my health benefits and retirement…fine by me. Oh yes and the $1200.00 in school supplies I spend each year, and the fact that our salary has been frozen for 9 years. I have a Master’s Degree…pay me for what I actually do and I would gladly pay for those items you mentioned. One more thing, when hard working Americans can’t make it because their taxes are so high due to the fact that we have to pay for all of the people unwilling to work, who are habitually on public assistance and not because they need it, but because president would gladly hand our hard earned dollars over to them…..the system is broke….

  26. Pay you higher salaries but sorry no retirement plan or fully paid for health. Just like the rest of us not working for the government but paying for the government .

  27. Your letter makes me unspeakably sad. I grew up in Eastern NC and attended public schools in the sixties and early seventies. I left NC because there were no opportunities in my town.
    Unfortunately, state governments seem to be more willing to fund prisons than schools. So, I sympathize with your pain but have no answers. This pains me all the more because my daughter is preparing for a career as a teacher in VA. I know she will be a superlative one. Fortunately, Northern VA does seem to put more of an emphasis on education than NC has in my experience. Our nation as a whole seems rather short-sighted in this regard. If you have ideas as to how this attitude might be effectively combated, I would be willing to support you in your efforts.

  28. I hear you! I received my MA 2003 and I have only been able to find adjunct work, and even that was cut recently. I now have an upcoming adjunct position at a private college where I will make at most $10K/year. Everyone tells me I should just leave the state. But I was born here, I own my home here, inherited from my grandmother, it is next door to the house I grew up in, where my parents live, and my sister is on the same family plot in her house. In order to move for a full-time job I would have to sell, but I can’t sell as it would also mean my entire family having to sell, move and find new jobs, too. I am now in my early 40s. I am living hand-to-mouth, no savings, 100K in education debt, no health care, nothing. My family has had to help me pay my monthly bills. I hate it, the realization that I would have been better off financially if I had dropped out of high school and just worked the clerk job I had back then. Now that I am in my 40s I have some medical issues that mean I cannot stand on my feet for 8 hours at a time for a shift at a fast food restaurant. Since being laid off (just before Thanksgiving though I have years of excellent evaluations) I have applied to over a 100 jobs, not one call back, and 2 have emailed to say they decided to not fill the position… I love teaching, I love sharing what I know about the world with young college kids, I have consistently been told that I am a great instructor, but I can’t find enough work to make ends meet. Honestly, I would love to have a 30K / year teaching job :(

    • You need to consider jobs in other states. I have moved several times during my career. You don’t want to get on the adjunct track; its sub-McDonald’s wages and it supports a disgusting business model. And if you want to teach, you need to begin accruing pension credit. You need to take control and manage your career actively.

      • Well, that would be grand if I could move. If you re-read my post you will see why that is not possible… moving would mean I would have to sell my home and property, which is also the home and property of my parents and my sister, all of whom would also have to move and find new jobs in order for me to be able to move to find a job. It’s a catch, but it simply is not possible to just sell and move. If they ever actually semi-adequately fund education in this state, then maybe there is a chance, but I’ve really given up on believing in that. If I could move, I would have done so years ago! I was actually offered a full-time position in Rochester, but there was just no way to come up with the money to make the move.

  29. I am about to step into a classroom for my 49th year as a teacher – now as an adjunct – working from preschool to grad school over those years – it is a love I was born to have – I am so sorry for those teachers who can no longer afford to stay on – I had the good fortune to work in NJ where salaries were adequate and insurance was paid for – that last item has changed but salaries remain reasonable – our governor is not a champion of schools and has cut – cut – cut and raised the teachers cost of medical insurance – class sizes have increased – not a good thing in such a diverse state – I took to the road and retired at 55 (14 years ago) – I worked at non-public and parochial schools as a school psychologist – now just as an adjunct – are students – the tested generation – are often ill prepared for college classes and so we have to teach skills and learning strategies first – and now they will take even more time to test the kids even though NJ schools are great for the most part – we reward failing schools with twice as much money and half the learning still takes place – I sympathies with my friends in NC – time to walk out and make something happen – we did that here – good luck

  30. Those of us trying to teach in the community colleges in NC are in the same boat. We’ve been shut out of raises, slashed and burned, while administrators get raises to high five and six figure salaries. However, we still are expected to teach six sections of 25+ students and actually try and teach people new skills who’ve lost jobs and self-esteem, lost homes and savings accounts, all while juggling our own losses of homes and savings due to cuts in salaries.

    NC simply HATES education and voted so in the past election. Big business does not want to pay for education when they can hire employees from other countries and have those countries bear the expense of educating them. Moreover, religious extremists and the wealthy elite detest education and educators due to our ability to wake people up from the ignorance of religious mythology and economic bondage of minimum wage.

    NC attacks education because we do TOO GOOD OF A JOB in waking up the masses and creating critical thinkers. The wealthy elite cannot bear their automatons thinking.

  31. Thank you so much for speaking out. I’m an unemployed father of one, and my wife and I both have health problems that would be insurmountable without the health insurance that we have help paying for. I cannot imagine the stress and humiliation you must feel at being a full-time teacher, which is, of course, someone who works more than full time, and still being in the position of having people in your household who are uninsured. Thank you for your courage to speak, and thank you for your honesty. I hope you will continue to advocate for change for all our kids, and all our teachers.

  32. Lindsay,
    Thank you for your letter. My heart goes out to all new teachers who are coming into the profession. I have been teaching for 17 years and when the recession first began I was grateful for a job when so many were losing jobs, now I am angry and frustrated that as the economy grows, NC teachers are still being cut. I also love my job and don’t want to do anything else. However, I know that the only thing that will get the attention of the public and our representatives is to leave. I have children in the public school system and I worry about the impact on them as well as all the children in NC.

  33. My husband & I were there on Sunday & were so moved by your letter & what you had to say. Neither one of us are in the education field nor have children, but attend St James and have been hearing so much on this issue from Kristi. We chose to move to N.C. from Florida after years of vacations here, we love it, but in truth a bit ashamed of our state right now. We sure can do better, and will continue to do our part. God’s Peace & Love.

  34. We moved here nine years ago, retirees.. We love it. But much as it saddens us, we can’t be joined by our eldest daughter, because she is a teacher. And wants to remain a teacher. Oh well, perhaps when she retires. If we’re still alive..

  35. Higher education faces the same hurdles, adjuncts often make up 70% of the teaching force for the first two, very formative, years of college education.
    We teach because we are called to, because we love it, but cannot make a living.
    My husband and I have 4 jobs, 3 of which are as adjuncts. Those 3 are at the new top level of number of classes, a 36% decrease over the last year. Yes, a 36% decrease in income.
    Our hearts are with you, and all of the others in our field of teaching who go in, and can’t make a living doing one of the most important jobs in society, bringing up the next generation of citizens.

  36. I am graduating with a degree in Elementary Education in December of this year. I began this journey later than most, and am a ‘nontraditional’ student. I have two children, and my husband and I purchase our own health insurance right now. I also come from a family of educators, and feel that my place is in the classroom helping students enjoy learning. North Carolina is my home state, and while I have said time and again that I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, I am no longer able to say that truthfully. I will be looking across state lines when I begin my job search, and have no qualms about moving if I feel it would make an impact on our household budget. It hurts my heart to say it, but I am ashamed of North Carolina’s recent decisions. Teachers deserve better. Thank you for sharing your story.

  37. Thank you for speaking out. I moved to NC in 1978 as a divorced mother of a ten year old son. We moved here explicitly for the good public education available at that time. My son graduated from high school and went on to an excellent education at NCSU. Now, however, when a conversation I am involved in turns to the present state of the education system in NC, I hear people say they are disappointed and some are talking about moving from NC. A good education system and a forward thinking government brought many of us here; the opposite can cause many talented people to leave and maybe keep talented people from moving here.

    • I agree that taxes are a huge part of the problem. However, it is not the “general public” that needs to be convinced. Middle class citizens, who are the majority of the “general public” is well aware of the cost of taxes. The government continues to tax us/general public/middle class working people excessively while they continue to find more and more tax breaks to benefit the wealthy, who could afford to pay taxes without even batting an eye at them. It’s just not fair that education, state employees, etc. is what always gets the hit when cuts are made. Our children matter and they deserve to receive not just a good, but an EXCELLENT education!

  38. The problem is taxes. Teachers constitute a large or even the largest cost item in the State budget. The tax revolt that started in California spread across the United States, and lowering taxes is such a popular refrain that it has led one political party into a death spiral in opposition to all government expense, and hence, to government. For the same reason that people shop at Walmart even though they know that Walmart kills competing small businesses and creates employees who must depend on food stamps, people want to pay lower taxes, even though that leads to underfunded cities and civil services. Until we can convince the general public that paying taxes is the way that we all share in the costs of better communities, and better schools, we’ll stay in this frustrating, powerless slide into third-world status.

    • The tax structure must be changed so that it is a flat tax, while taking away all deductions except maybe the housing deduction. If the tax was a flat tax, it would be equal to all, allowing no one legitimate complaints.

    • Perhaps the fact that the tax money does not go to the teachers, but instead the majority of it goes to the faulty administration, or union bosses, or some other non-teacher-pay related use is what makes people less trusty of the government with our taxes. It’s not that we want lower taxes because we think teachers deserve lower salaries, we do not trust the government to use the tax money appropriately so it is better to vote down their tax raising budget than to try and argue with them about where the money should go when the taxes go up.

      Maybe lowering taxes by reducing the salary of the local teacher union boss who makes six figures for sitting around and making shady political deals would be better? Perhaps if the school superintendant or principal was making less than six figures, more money could go to the teachers who actually do the work?

      Paying taxes is NOT the way that we all share in the costs of better communities and better schools. Paying taxes is the way that we all share in government corruption and misuse of funds…

      • North Carolina teachers are not represented by a Union. The NCAE is a professional organization that promotes professional development, provides low cost liability insurance and group rates on a variety of insurance programs. They do some lobby, but from their record, they are clearly very poor at it. The only control we have over our salaries is with our vote (we don’t seem to be very good at that either). You have confused us with Wisconsin! If we did have Union Bosses we wouldn’t be complaining about salaries. Also, very few administrators make $100,000 dollars. Perhaps some of the Superintendents of larger counties. Assistant Principals typically make less than classroom teachers. No one is getting rich at this profession.

  39. I honestly don’t understand the animosity towards teachers.

    Thank you so much for standing up and speaking out, Lindsay. I also live in a poor state – West Virginia – where we regularly lose good teachers to neighboring states who pay more and have better benefits. Our children are the ones who suffer, in the classroom and later in life. That is not say we don’t still have good teachers. We do. Just not as many.

  40. As soon as I saw a Tweet about this situation, I retweeted it so more could see it and I wanted to read your open letter, I have been telling my faculty for at least a year or more that public education–as we have known it in NC–was dying and your letter confirms my prediction that, indeed, education is on its last legs. I just saw a colleague who is leaving community college teaching for a job at the university, and I asked her to engage her colleagues in seeing if education can be saved. However, I believe it may be too late to save it. I wish you luck . . . .

  41. Although I am not a teacher, I have many teacher friends and many friends with young children in school! I volunteer with young people (and have for over 20 years) and no where do I see the cuts to education more clearly than in these changing groups of children! Every year more and more children end up less equipped to handle real life and to handle simple intellectual conversation! Many people blame parents and teachers but I blame the government!

    I am not sure when our future generation and the people of this country stopped being a priority. Big business, Big Oil and the military seem to be the growing concern now! It is pathetic to see medical, education and social systems being torn apart to provide funds to these other items.

    You can not expect educators to continue to bust their humps, come early, stay late, work from home, pay for supplies out of their own pocket, deal with classes twice as big as when they started teaching for so little. I applaud you for taking a stand for your family!

    there is no need to be humble, It sounds as if you are a fantastic teacher and that you will be very sorely missed. I will be praying for you and your family, the families of the children you were unable to teach and the world in general!

  42. Lindsay, I was so inspired to hear you speak at White Horse Black Mountain yesterday that I have decided to take a much more active role in working to reverse the damage being done to our state by the General Assembly. Thank you for demonstrating such courage and resolve.

  43. We are 63 year old folks. I still work, my wife is on disability (no, neither of us are teachers). We don’t want to pay taxes any more than any other people, especially those of our age. BUT, we both feel that the one thing we have no trouble paying for is the education of the kids. They are the future of our nation. We have lost so much to the rest of the world due to the decline of education in this country. The government and OUR representatives, whether they are Democrats, Republicans or of any other ilk, can always find funding for pet projects. Here in Charlotte the Mayor found funding for an arena that the voters voted down but our schools are a total mess (What is that mayor doing now? Oh, that’s right – he is Governor). And before I’m accused of party politics, our recently resigned Mayor had as his top priority a trolley. A TROLLEY! (Oh, yeah. No longer Mayor, nowhead of US Department of Transportation). But funding for school improvements and teacher salaries? Yes, you guessed the right answer. We have no kids, grandkids or other relatives living in NC. Thank God for that. Our kids received good, fully funded educations. Our grandchildren are being taught by teachers making a tolerable wage (note that I didn’t say a great wage – always room for improvement). All of this, of course, is in another state. All I can say is SHAME on the legislature and the Governor for continuing down this road.

  44. Thank you so much for your beautifully written letter. Thank you for sharing feelings and realities that many of us are going through as well.
    My children are older and in college. Trying to support them has been almost impossible. It is very frustrating to live from paycheck to paycheck. We have incurred quite a bit of debt and see no relief in site. I pray that your letter will have an impact. Many blessings to you and yours.

  45. God bless you! I feel exactly the same about teaching, and I have loved every child who passed through my classrooms — even the difficult ones! Some responded to the love and changed tremendously by year’s end. You will be missed, and I hope your beautiful letter will be read in every legislature considering another pay cut. I will say a prayer that you land in a teaching role that impacts the classroom but rewards you with enough to provide for your children.

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