Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Moves to Texas for Money
Way back in the day, I attended Kilgore College. I was on a quest to acquire the degrees and education required to be a music teacher. When I had the opportunity to work in radio, I took it because the pay was higher. When you take into account that I buy the good ramen noodles on pay day, that statement should tell you all you need to know when it comes to the lowly nature of a teacher’s salary. To say they probably do it for the love is like saying Paula Deen probably likes butter.
That’s why this story didn’t exactly take me by surprise. Here is the cream of the educational crop in Oklahoma making exactly not-enough to live on. Shawn Sheehan was voted 2016 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year for his work teaching math to 9th graders. This shows that he has an extraordinary level of love for math, and patience with young teenager (who traditionally don’t love math). His wife was also a pretty good educator in her own right – but together, they only brought in around $3,600 a month. That’s 2 incomes, and Shawn is basically the Chuck Norris of teachers! After bills, that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 for groceries and gas for the month. You see, Oklahoma leads the nation in educational budget cuts.
After finding out that his small family had another member on the way, Shawn knew he had to do something. He ran for office in an effort to restore some of the funds taken away from teachers. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful. After realizing that he would not find the money or the support in the state that he currently worked, he had no other choice than to look elsewhere for work.
That’s when the surprising of this story occurred. He not only found a job, but found a salary that would fit his needs and then some! It seems the Lone Star State would be tickled pink to have a teacher of Shawn’s caliber and can’t wait to treat him right! In Texas, he and his wife will see an increase of around $40,000 a year! This is just the tip of the iceberg, as thousands of Oklahoma teachers have fled the state in search of higher salaries and better benefits. The teacher shortage has not prompted legislators to increase funding, but they have issued emergency teacher certifications to increase the number of teachers in the state. That’s right instead of paying them more, they have lowered the bar on the certifications to be a teacher. NPR has more on Shawn’s story you can check out here.