According to Stephanie Walter, when she was invited to meet President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan she didn’t have a particular political message to convey. Her story isn’t about Democrats or Republican...
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According to Stephanie Walter, when she was invited to meet President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan she didn’t have a particular political message to convey. Her story isn’t about Democrats or Republicans.
“I just want my job back,” she says.
In May, she was laid off from her position at Jefferson County Joint Vocational School in Amsterdam, Ohio. She had taught English for 17 years.
Walter was earning about 70 percent of her family’s income. Now she is substitute teaching and earning about one quarter of her previous salary. She is also teaching at a community college, and her husband works construction, but they worry that it’s not enough to raise their two children.
Walter’s story is an example of what many educators and parents around the country are facing, and because of that it attracted the attention of the White House—which was advocating for a new jobs bill—and NBC Nightly News. When she received a phone call from a television producer, she told them that it was a bad time because she had to take her daughter to soccer practice, and then she was planning on baking cookies with her kids.
She emphasizes that her story is part of a systemic problem. Politicians have been talking about improving public education at the same time they are cutting resources. For two years, Walter taught her classes without textbooks.
The media and political spotlight has been exciting, she says, and earned her a trip to Washington, D.C. But at the end of her trip, her mind was still on how she was going to pay her bills.
“I made good money last year,” she says. “Now I’m wondering if we should call for public assistance food cards.”
Watch Stephanie Walter on NBC Nightly News:
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