She’s spent over $2,000 of her $35,000 salary to outfit her classroom thanks to dwindling funds.
A Tulsa teacher is making waves and garnering support from local businesses after resorting to a drastic gesture to create awareness of school funding cuts. Teresa Danks took to the streets of her hometown with a tongue-in-cheek sign to solicit funds for her third-grade classroom supplies. By doing so, she’s also drawn national attention to the struggle that many public school teachers face, spending their own funds to provide basic elements of education to their students.
According to a Fox23 News report, Danks claims she’s spent between $2,000 and $3,000 of her $35,000 per year salary to provide the bare necessities for her students. Frustrated by the red tape and inaction of the government, she’s appealing directly to strangers’ sense of charity to help cover the costs of teaching that her school district hasn’t.
Though the approach is unorthodox, the results are an unqualified success in terms of both fundraising and creating awareness. On Tuesday, she raised $55 in just six minutes standing with a sign reading “Teacher Needs School Supplies! Anything Helps.” She has since created a GoFundMe site so that anyone, near or far, who empathizes can donate.
The fundraising page reads:
With more budget cuts to our schools, I am in need of some help. If you already have, would be willing to save up for me, donate or sell cheaply for the 2017-18 school year it would be greatly appreciated. Just comment if you are able to help. Thanks so much.”
She lists the items she seeks as well, and while they’re by no means pricey, she’s understandably not capable of providing them all out of her own pocket.
- Egg cartons
- Paper towel/toilet paper rolls
- Old, leftover party paper plates
- Pipe cleaners
- Broken costume jewelry
- Craft wire
- Silk flowers
- Plastic water bottles
- Gallon size plastic jugs
- Sewing needles/thread
- Fabric pieces
- Cotton balls/pom poms
- Safety pins
- Stencils (letters & pictures)
- Stamp pads
- Large felt board
- Sandwich bags
Other items she requires include:
- Treasure box single wrap candy
- Single electric hot burner
- Board games and card games for ages 6+
- Big Joe black bean bag chair
- Yoga balls
- Small dorm-size refrigerator
- Small microwave
In just one day, she’s reached the halfway point of her $2,000 goal, and the “trending” status of her effort indicates she’ll meet her goal handily.
Nonetheless, she stresses that this isn’t the way teachers should access basic supplies to teach. She said, speaking to another news station, WCVB5, "I mean, we are begging. We don't want to call it that, but this kind of shows that it is.”
While the “begging” seems to be successful, it also serves to highlight the issue that plagues so many public schools in both Oklahoma and the United States at large.