ALI VELSHI (HOST): We don't meet a lot of people who go into teaching because they think they're going to get rich doing it, but the problems you have are twofold. One is your salaries, and the other is that there has been a per capita decrease in many parts of the country, say, compared to ten years ago, in how much is spent per student. So you're ending up with older textbooks, classrooms in disrepair, and supplies that teachers themselves have to purchase.
MELISSA SMITH (U.S. GRANT HIGH SCHOOL CRIMINAL JUSTICE TEACHER): Absolutely. I spent over $3,000 last year out of my own pocket on supplies for my students. We don't have what we need. My criminal justice class, our textbooks, I have 30. I started this semester with almost 40 students in that class with 30 desks. It's first come first serve. You get to class early and to get a chair.
VELSHI: And your criminal justice textbooks are from 2002. It's 2018 right now.
VELSHI: So let's talk about who these teachers are. Melissa, you've got two master's degrees. That's ended you up with about $164,000 in student loans. You do extra jobs, like a lot of teachers do at school. You've got various titles. I think you've got four different titles at the high school. You end up working a lot longer than a 40-hour workweek, and do you earn well for that privilege?
SMITH: Well I'm student council adviser, senior class sponsor, so none of the senior activities or graduation happen without me. I'm a link crew coordinator, so we train juniors and seniors to mentor the freshman and the freshman year is the most critical in terms of their high school career, and criminal justice. Without my extra stipends for student council adviser and senior class sponsor, I make about $36,000 a year.
VELSHI: Wow, and you mentioned that you spent about $3,000 in last year on things for the students.
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