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Teachers Spending Own Money for Supplies, Poll Finds

The majority of public school educators spend their own money on school supplies, shows the results of a poll released Wednesday by the Maryland State Education Association.

In addition, they work second jobs in order to pay for student debt and other personal finances, according to the poll, which was conducted by D.C.-based GBA Strategies.

“Far too many educators are struggling to make ends meet,” said Baltimore County elementary teacher and MSEA President Cheryl Bost. “It’s clear that Maryland needs to do more for our teachers and school staff. Educators devote their lives to making a difference for every single child in their community, yet as a state we have allowed educators to become undervalued.”

An accompanying memo summarizing the poll results highlights some of the numbers calculated by the 800 educators surveyed July 17-22:

• In the past year, 91 percent of teachers used their own money to purchase school supplies.

• In the past year, nearly 40 percent have student debt.

• In the past year, 48 percent of teachers of color work a second job.

The poll also posed several questions such as whether “inadequate staffing levels make it hard to keep my head above water during the school day.”

About 45 percent “strongly agree” and 71 percent were in total agreement.

Also, 69 percent agreed their individual school doesn’t have adequate funding to ensure all students are successful.

Meanwhile, officials, education advocates and residents await the much-anticipated final recommendations from the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, also known as the Kirwan Commission.

The group will discuss three main topics Thursday in Annapolis: early childhood education; obtaining high-quality educators; and college and career readiness.

According to commission documents, each topic will be separated into three workgroups.

State Sen. Paul Pinksy (D-District 22) of University Park, who serves on the commission, will moderate a discussion on teachers.

According to a document labeled “High Quality Teachers and Leaders,” one idea would incorporate more rigorous requirements with some standards to mirror those in Massachusetts, where teacher salaries are roughly 16 percent higher than the national average.

One initiative already approved this year in the Maryland General Assembly is a public relations campaign targeting the top 25 percent high school students in each county to encourage them to consider the teaching profession.

According to the proposal, it would be managed by the state Department of Education and cost $250,000 annually. The amount could decrease if teacher recruitment increases.

A preliminary report suggests it may cost the state at least an additional $2 billion to pay for teacher salaries and other initiatives to improve the state’s overall education.

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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