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The fact that teachers are underpaid isn't exactly breaking news. But ever since West Virginia's high-profile teacher strike in February, the reality faced by educators in America has become crystal clear.

Teachers strikes across the country have raised awareness about the economic challenges educators face — including how typical it is for educators to spend their own money on vital classroom materials, from paper to furniture.

The West Virginia strike quickly inspired similar efforts in Colorado, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. Teachers are supporting their colleagues, too: Arizona educators recently started striking to secure raises for school receptionists and bus drivers.  


Some have feared the frequent statewide strikes would inspire a backlash — after all, the myth that teachers clock out at 3 p.m. everyday and get unlimited time off in the summers still persists. And as recently as 2010, an AP-Stanford poll found that only 57% felt that teachers were paid too little.

But the strikes appear to be working: A majority of Americans are in favor of increasing teacher pay.

According to a new AP-NORC poll, a super majority of 78% of poll respondents say that teachers aren't paid enough, with only 6% saying that they are paid too much.

Plus, a slim majority of those surveyed even support raising taxes to help pay for increasing teacher salaries.

"To educate children and barely get a living is obnoxious," Arizona resident Elaine Penman said in an interview connected to the poll. "I'm a parent and I benefit directly from what teachers do."

Teacher salaries are quickly becoming a bipartisan issue.

According to the poll, nearly 90% of Democrats agree teachers aren't paid enough, as do 78% of Independents and 66% of Republicans.

52% of people responding to the poll say they agree with the striking teachers' efforts, with only 25% disagreeing. And according to those "paying attention" to the strikes, 80% support them.

Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images.

The benefits of education are profound. And most Americans agree that teachers should be fairly compensated for their work.

Everyone may not agree on the solution, but nearly everyone agrees on the problem: Teachers aren't being paid enough and they're being asked to do too much. And research shows that strong education is tied to everything from better job opportunities to personal health.

As statewide strikes continue, people are paying attention.

And the more they pay attention, a clear consensus is emerging: Paying teachers a fair wage isn't just the right thing to do — it's a literal investment in our own futures.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Marlon Brando on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1973.

Marlon Brando made one of the biggest Hollywood comebacks in 1972 after playing the iconic role of Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” The venerable actor's career had been on a decline for years after a series of flops and increasingly unruly behavior on set.

Brando was a shoo-in for Best Actor at the 1973 Academy Awards, so the actor decided to use the opportunity to make an important point about Native American representation in Hollywood.

Instead of attending the ceremony, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Yaqui and Apache actress and activist, dressed in traditional clothing, to talk about the injustices faced by Native Americans.

She explained that Brando "very regretfully cannot accept this generous award, the reasons for this being … the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee."

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