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Why One Teacher Can't Work in Public Education Anymore

Why One Teacher Can't Work in Public Education Anymore

Stephanie Keiles once described teaching as her calling and spent more than ten years as an educator and activist for public education. Now, she's resigning from public schools for good- and blames federal mandates combined with poor compensation and a lack of respect as the reason she can no longer work in public schools any longer.

In an article for The Huffington Post, Keiles describes how she found her way into teaching in public schools and what has forced her out of it.

Keiles originally went into business, but later on in life would find her passion. At 28-years -old, she had the epiphany that being a math teacher was her true calling.

"Nine years and four kids later, I enrolled in Eastern Michigan University's Post-Baccalaureate teacher certification program, and first stepped into my own classroom at the age of 40. I was teaching high school, because that's where I had my first offer, and I was given five classes of kids who were below grade-level in math. And I still loved it," she said.

Education became a defining part of Keiles' life, so much so that that she became an education advocate and fought tirelessly for her beliefs, which she will continue to do.

"I am part of a group called Save Michigan's Public Schools. Two years ago, we put on a rally for public education at the Capitol steps that drew over 1,000 people from all over the state with just three weeks' notice and during summer break."

But now, that has to be her sole role in public school education. She can no longer take being a public school teacher thanks to the influx of standardized testing that defines what she can and can't teach combined with a declining standard of compensation as well as respect, she says.

"As a 10th-year teacher in my district, I would be making 16 percent less than a 10th-year was when I was hired in 2006. Plus, I now have to pay for medical benefits, and 3 percent of my pay is taken out to fund current retiree health care, which has been found unconstitutional for all state employees except teachers. And I'm being asked to contribute more to my pension."

Despite twelve years of experience and a Master's degree, Keiles had to consider getting a second job to make any sort of financial decision.

"If I were poorly compensated but didn't have to comply with asinine mandates and a lack of respect, that would be one thing."

And so, Keiles' resignation from public schools is effective at the end of this month, where she will move on to a teaching position at an independent school.

"I will miss my colleagues more than you could ever know, especially my math girls and my Green Hall buddies. It really breaks my heart to leave such a wonderful group of people."

"I will always be there to fight for public education. I just can't teach in it."

Read Keiles' full post here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

08/12/2015

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