Funding for schools has been decreasing for years in the state of Oklahoma, and in 2016, the Republican-dominated legislature led the nation in budget cuts to education.
In 2017, only Arizona, Idaho, and Utah spend less than the $8,000 Oklahoma allots for each student, reports the Washington Post. As a result, many teachers are forced to dig deep into their own shallow pockets just to keep their classroom afloat.
Teresa Danks, a third-grade teacher in Tulsa, has resorted to panhandling on the side of the road to not only make a statement, but to gather the money for basic school supplies for her students.
An educator since 1996, Danks has devoted anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 of her measly $35,000 salary annually to supplies for her students.
"It's just getting harder and harder," she told Tulsa's Fox News 23, as the state continues to short-change the education system when it comes to resources.
After panhandling for only six or seven minutes, Danks had already made $35, almost double what she is paid hourly as a teacher. The public's support is undoubtedly inspiring, but it also clearly highlights how bad things currently are in the United States education system.
The President Donald Trump administration's proposed budget promises to eliminate $9.2 billion from the Education Department, about 13.5 percent of its total funds, reports The Atlantic. While this budget proposal is only a blueprint, it shows exactly where the national government's priorities lie and the extent Republicans are willing to go to fulfill their dreams of a smaller, less responsible government.
Danks explained that she hopes begging on the side of the road is a shock to people — politicians included — and shows them just how dire the situation truly is. While Oklahoma's public school system is in critical condition, other states aren't doing that much better, and Danks said she hopes to make people aware that this is a nationwide problem.
"I'm not alone. I mean, we're all doing it," she said in reference to the lengths teachers are forced to go to in order to do their job. "So, I'm just one voice of many."
Banner/thumbnail credit: Flickr user oddharmonic