Due to budget cuts, Teresa Danks, a third grade teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, usually ends up having to buy some of her classroom supplies with her own money. So, in what was more a protest than an actual bid for money, on Wednesday Danks tried panhandling for money for school supplies at the side of the road.
Danks says she made $55 in about six minutes, but in this case, the money she earned from panhandling wasn't really the point—she was drawing attention to the overwhelming need Oklahoma teachers have for more funding and supplies. However, a GoFundMe has been set up for her that's already raised half of its $2,000 goal, so at least the money for the supplies won't have to come out of her pocket this year.
It doesn't help that Oklahoma teachers are among the least paid in the country. Speaking to WCVB5, Danks, who's been a teacher since 1996, said she makes about $35,000 a year, and of that, spends about $2,000 to $3,000 on supplies for her classroom that the state doesn't provide. She told the station, "I mean, we are begging. We don't want to call it that, but this kind of shows that it is."
As a result of all the coverage Dank's protest is getting, FOX23 reports that she's received about 100 emails from people offering to mail supplies to her, as well as a $250 gift card from a business to put towards school supplies. She told FOX23 that she was "overwhelmed by the generosity and the love [she's] getting from the community," but she still really hopes her message will reach someone in the government who can help all Oklahoma teachers. "It matters to me to be a good teacher and that these Oklahoma kids get the best education," she said, "and I'm angered that it does not seem important to our legislation."