Teacher panhandles to buy school supplies for classroom

- An Oklahoma teacher is getting plenty of attention online after she started raising money for her classroom - by panhandling.

Teresa Danks, a Tulsa 3rd-grade teacher, stood on a busy Tulsa corner with a sign asking for donations for school supplies.

The sign read "Teacher needs school supplies! Anything helps! :)"

Her genuine emotion and passion touched people in the county and across the nation. She said she's received dozens of emails and Facebook messages and one business even gave her a $250 gift card. Another wants to donate craft supplies and a third business offered to adopt her class for the entire year!

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According to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Oklahoma led the nation in cuts to general education funding per student. It also was 49th in the nation for average teacher pay at $45,726 according to the National Educational Association.

Danks said the kids are most important to her and they should be to lawmakers, too.

"I am overwhelmed by the generosity and the love I am getting from the community," she said. "It matters to me to be a good teacher and that these kids get the best education. I'm angered that it doesn't seem like they are important to our legislation."

Danks has received so much support, she even set up a GoFundMe page that has already reached $14,500 in just a few days. She said she wanted to raise $2,000 for her own classroom and, since she has already surpassed that, she said she will donate to other teachers via a partnership with DonorsChoose.org.

She says she's welcoming to all the help but hopes that her story touches an Oklahoma lawmaker who can make a push to change.


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