Some Michigan teachers say they don’t have the money to buy basic supplies for their classrooms.
At a town hall meeting in Bridgman, state leaders and teachers discussed the cuts made to education over the past ten years.
They’re cuts that have many teachers feeling frustrated, as they all have to do more with less.
“The discipline is sometimes increased because of the number of kids in a classroom,” said Bridgman teacher Cheryl Carr. “So you don’t feel as a teacher that you’re instructing what you should be instructing. You spend a lot of time disciplining people.”
Many teachers say they’re left out of the conversation when it comes to the future of public education. Carr says several of her co-workers have gotten calls from their district’s legislator, asking them to stop bothering him because he’s had enough.
But the folks at the town hall meeting say they’ve had enough. What’s at stake is not just their jobs, but children’s futures. And those futures could be more bleak if the state passes laws making it easier to privatize education.
“One would allow conversion schools which would allow traditional public schools to be converted into charter schools without a vote of the people,” said Casandra Ulbrich, Vice President of Michigan’s Board of Education.
It’s one of nine measures educators say favors money over a quality education. And while the state of the state’s education funding depresses them, teachers say it’s their students that keep them sane.
“It’s not a job, it’s a life,” said Roy Freeman, who works in custodial and maintenance at Dowigiac schools. “It’s the relationships you build that makes you want to come back and do it.”