Chris Gable is a beloved teacher of language arts and social studies in Asheville, North Carolina. People consider him not just a good teacher, but a great one. And he is leaving North Carolina.

Teachers’ salaries have sunk so low that Gable can’t afford to stay in North Carolina.

Yet Gable, whose low salary qualifies his family for Medicaid and food assistance, finds himself on a path toward financial ruin, in spite of his education and hard work.

“I feel guilty,” said Gable, who is quitting his job on November 26 and leaving his beloved Asheville for a more promising financial future teaching in Columbus, Ohio. There, he figures he’ll make close to $30,000 more than his current salary, which is $38,000 for ten years’ experience and a master’s degree.

“I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from parents and peers about the fact that I am leaving. I want to continue to serve this community, but the state legislature has made it impossible,” Gable said.”

North Carolina doesn’t want great teachers. The legislature would be happy to have constant turnover, which keeps down costs.

“From the start of his teaching career, Gable says he was totally overwhelmed with the amount of work he was asked to do. For the first couple of years he regularly put in 12- to 14-hour days, leaving him emotionally and even physically burnt out. One night he landed in the emergency room with a bronchial infection that wouldn’t go away.

Gable’s teaching friends in Pennsylvania and Ohio are shocked to learn the things he and his colleagues are asked to do. Each week, Gable serves as a bookkeeper, counselor, gym teacher, lunchroom supervisor, and in other roles in addition to his primary duties that involve teaching and grading papers.

“We’re asked to do a lot of things wouldn’t have to do, I think, if we had union representation,” said Gable.

This is a sad story. It gives you the distinct impression that North Carolina policymakers want to drive away their best teachers.

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