Woodford County

Central Kentucky teacher makes the cover of national magazine. Here’s why.

A Woodford County educator has been featured in a Time magazine cover story about the hardships of U.S. teachers.

Hope Brown, a Woodford County High School history teacher, told the magazine she works three jobs and donates plasma twice a week to help make ends meet. Her salary wasn’t revealed.

She was used by Time to illustrate its point that teachers make less money on average than they did in 1990, forcing many to turn to second jobs to pay bills, according to data obtained by the publication. Last year, teachers made 18.7 percent less money than comparable workers, according to the magazine’s report of numbers from the Economic Policy Institute.

In a similar story about the financial hardships of teachers, The New York Times earlier this week highlighted a Lexington teacher and six other educators.

After working until 4 or 5 p.m. at the high school, Brown works at Rupp Arena staffing the metal detectors, she told Time. Brown also runs a historical tour company with her husband, she said.

For Brown, who has a master’s degree in secondary education, her financial troubles were something she never expected.

“I truly love teaching,” Brown told the magazine. “But we are not paid for the work we do.”

Time released three separate covers for their story, with Brown donning one of them. Teachers from North Carolina and California were also featured.

Concerns over underfunded Kentucky teacher pensions complicates pay issues.. Educators throughout the state protested in the Capitol earlier this year over education and pension funding.

Drone video shows Kentucky teachers and their supporters gathered at the Capitol in Frankfort Monday, April, 2, to protest pension changes and support education spending.

Brown fears teaching will not be a viable career for her if budget cuts and school privatization efforts continue.

“I’m not necessarily a religious person, but I do believe I was put here to be a teacher,” she told Time. “I just want to be able to financially do that.”

In the New York Times article, Tracey Tevis, a fourth-grade teacher at Coventry Oak Elementary School, said she also works as a theater manager at Cinemark Fayette Mall and as a sales associate at the Disney Store. She works 15-25 hours per week during the school year at those two additional jobs, as well as even more during the summer months.

“Movie theaters don’t close,” she told the Times. “I work Thanksgiving, Christmas and holidays, and I miss out on family events. It’s not unheard-of for me to work a full calendar month before I have a day off.”