However, extreme inequities ☊ in low-income communities are a common source of frustration when they see students’ futures determined by where they live ☊ rather than their potential ☊. How can children learn when so many could pack up their homes ☊ in a single day using trash bags? Teachers want to address the roots of these disparities ☊ and help students understand their history, prioritize early childhood education ☊ (the foundation ☊ for future success), and address the mental health crisis ☊.
Equally urgent is their call to aid teachers who constantly battle to make ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck ☊, always behind ☊ with little support ☊ and struggling with burnout ☊ from all the demands on their plate ☊. As the job has changed ☊, there is greater attention on work-life balance ☊. Checking in on each other ☊, sharing encouraging words ☊ and meaningful visits ☊, reaching out to our community for support ☊ and reimagining the workday ☊ are ways we can help teachers resist the urge to quit ☊. But without better pay and benefits ☊ and help with education debt ☊, teachers worry that the loss of more educators to alternative fields would spell a disheartening future for education in Arkansas.
With the recent passing of the LEARNS ACT, teachers implore policymakers to spend a whole day ☊ with them on the frontline ☊ —not just when it’s time to vote ☊ —and offer them a seat at the table ☊ rather than pushing them to the sidelines ☊ on educational decisions ☊. Even though we’re all on the same side of the curtain ☊ and want the best education for our children, it hurts ☊ when no one listens to or trusts ☊ what teachers say.
These teachers hold steadfastly onto hope that educators can be respected again ☊, finding solace in a team dedicated to the well-being of students ☊ and the community. They draw strength from the knowledge that they are not alone ☊ in their unwavering pursuit of a brighter future for education and keep coming back ☊ each year. In forums like these ☊, where their voices are heard ☊, they discover a sense of unity and support ☊, fueling their hope and reinforcing their dedication to our youth and our state’s future.