Dear President Obama,
Everyday, I get about 4-5 hours of sleep. My day starts at 4:45 am when I wake up to read my Bible for a few moments. Then, I make lunch for my 9 year old with Autism. I set the clothes out for my other 9 year old with Down Syndrome. As Black boys in America with special needs, the outcomes say they have a slim to none chance to graduate high school, a good chance of being imprisoned, and a great chance of having a very poor, perhaps homeless, adult quality of life. I don't focus on it, but it remains the fact for most.
After I finish packing lunches, I sneak into our room (we share a 10x11 room in my grandmothers house) and grab my clothes. I pull my tired little guy from a bed on the floor and dress him in his sleep. I help him to the car, we back out at 5:55 am. I then drive 1 hour to drop him off at a Charter school that serves kids with Autism. I moved to Tampa, Florida for this school. There are so few quality choices for parents with kids with Autism that are the working poor. I am an American public school teacher. I teach 5th grade at a high poverty, nearly all Black, elementary school in Tampa. I work 12-14 hour days and bring work home. My income last week was $1,330.00 for 2 weeks. I hold 2 MAs and have been an award winning urban public education for 17 years. I cannot afford an apartment, let alone a house. I live check to check. People who sell guns make more money.
Teachers in the most challenging schools have very little resources. Last month I had a choice to make, overdraft my bank account or buy supplies for my students. I chose my students, and we ate less at home.
You said we are the most powerful nation in the world. That being true, the state of Education for MOST Americans is unacceptable. Loosing kids to gun violence is horrific, and so is allowing millions of American kids to go from our schools to our prisons. The stratification is growing, rapidly.
We need change for our teachers. Young people don't what to be teachers out of college. They know teachers are paid terribly, they know it's a very hard and sometimes even dangerous career. They are turned off in droves to what should be the highest held profession in our nation.
I'd vote you in again if I could. It's been an honor to be an American while you have been in office. Before you go, please do all you can to improve the state of affairs for American teachers.