KS teacher quits amid anti-gay threats



April 23, 2018 - 11:00 PM

There are 1,603 unfilled teaching jobs in Kansas right now, according to the website that posts them, out of some 34,000 such positions in the state. The site also says, “Kansas, a great place to teach and live!”

But what it doesn’t say is no secret: According to the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, the starting salary for Kansas teachers is down an average of 4.3 percent in constant dollars from what they were paid 16 years earlier. And while Kansas has a lot to recommend it, teacher pay that ranks 45th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia is not an enticement.

So when an excellent, deeply committed visual arts and theater teacher in rural Kansas, where recruitment is especially challenging, feels he has no choice but to leave the state after receiving a series of threatening letters about his sexual orientation, that’s hurtful not only to that man and that community, but also to the whole state’s reputation and to its already struggling and under-funded education system.

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