via Jessica Gentry / Facebook

Teachers in modern-day America face a whole host of problems. Under-funded schools, low pay, union busting, an overemphasis on standardized testing, and children who are addicted to technology.

But it seems the biggest problem for many teachers is dealing with parents.

"Today, new teachers remain in our profession an average of just 4.5 years, and many of them list 'issues with parents' as one of their reasons for throwing in the towel," Ron Clark, motivation speaker and author of five,books on education, said in a CNN editorial.

"Word is spreading, and the more negativity teachers receive from parents, the harder it becomes to recruit the best and the brightest out of colleges," Clark continued.

Jessica Gentry, a former kindergarten teacher for 12 years at at Stone Spring Elementary School in Harrisonburg, Virginia, wrote a viral Facebook thread about why she's left the profession and says that parents were a major reason.

"I think it's easier for people to believe that I left teaching because of the lousy pay," she wrote in a post last June that received over 270,000 reactions and 220,000 shares.

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"It was easier for my former HR director to believe it was because I found something that I was more passionate about. Some would allow them to assume that... let them be comfortable in their assumptions because your truth may lead to discomfort of others," she continued.

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12 News Now

Little Rock, Arkansas has found a unique way of dealing with litter around the city that's not only creating a cleaner community but also helping out the homeless.

In April 2019, the city began a six-month pilot program called Bridge to Work, paying homeless people $9.25 an hour – $2 more than the federal minimum wage – to collect trash off the streets. But it was so successful, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. recently extended through September 2020.

Canvas Community Church runs the program, employing eight people a day to pick up trash, clear weeds, and perform other cleaning tasks in exchange for cash and a meal, according to 12 News Now.

RELATED: Three young siblings started a candle company to pay for video games. Now they're giving back to help the homeless.

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via Lyft

One of the most under-reported challenges to lifting people out of the cycle of poverty is transportation. The vast majority of American cities are car-dependent and jobs are increasingly moving towards suburban areas. This puts the urban poor in a terrible position, with many jobs out of town and inaccessible without a car.

A recent report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia detailed the problem, saying:

"In nearly every discussion held … access to reliable transportation was discussed as a necessary component of economic mobility and quality of life. Many residents in northeastern Pennsylvania — especially lower-income or elderly residents — couldn't access employment, were missing doctor's appointments, couldn't get their children to child care, and couldn't participate in social, religious, and cultural events, all as a result of the lack of transportation. Residents from the region who did not own a car were stuck — literally and figuratively."

As part of a $50 million commitment to "improve our cities through transportation infrastructure, donated transportation, and sustainability initiatives" ride hailing app Lyft has launched a new program designed to help low-income people overcome their transportation obstacles.

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Lyft's Jobs Access Program aims to close short-term transportation gaps related to employment access and job training. It will provide people with free rides to job interviews and, if hired, free transportation to and from work until their first paycheck.

"We know that for the unemployed, reliable transportation to a job interview or to the first few weeks of work can mean the difference between successful, long-term employment and lost opportunities," a Lyft spokesperson told Upworthy.

via Lyft

Lyft aims to help immigrants, refugees, the formerly incarcerated, people with disabilities, and low-income workers or unemployed people living in low-income areas through the program.

"There's so many different types of candidates we're aiming to help," Mike Masserman, Lyft's head of social impact and former executive director for Export Policy, Promotion, and Strategy under the Obama Administration, told Fast Company.

"One example is the 18- to 24-year-old person who might be going to their very first job, or doesn't have a way of getting to their job interview . . . In some cases, folks are taking four different buses to get to work."

RELATED: Pizza guy whose quick thinking saved a woman's life gets the reward of a lifetime

The program is available in over 35 markets throughout the U.S. and Canada via Lyft's partners, including: United Way and 211, The USO, Goodwill, National Down Syndrome Society, Year Up, Generation, #cut50 (Dream Corps), The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, and Upwardly Global.

Lyft will provide ride credits to the nonprofits to distribute among their clientele as they see fit.

"We really defer to our nonprofit partners on that," says Masserman. "They're the ones that understand their constituency base the best."

Those who are interested in the Jobs Access Program and aren't currently affiliated with any of the aforementioned nonprofits can reach out to the United Way via it's 211 help number to learn more about their eligibility.

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As the refugee crisis in numerous countries continues to grow, several companies are using their platform to help.

One of those is IKEA. The Swedish furniture company has partnered with the Jordan River Foundation to provide job opportunities for Jordanian women and refugees.

All photos courtesy of IKEA.

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