One former Texas Educator is 'spilling ink,' on the troubling situation Texas Teachers face when they reach retirement. Suzanne Bardwell, now the co-publisher of the Gladewater Mirror is taking action.

She helped rally together 800 educators on the lawn of the Gregg county courthouse recently to get legislators attention with the 'Use Your Teacher Voice Rally,' and has written a stirring column about the incredible challenges teachers are facing financially as they retire.

Bardwell is not just a former educator, she was one of my mentors. I would not be doing this job today if not for her. That is plain and simple. She was not only a gifted educator, but wise, kind and supportive to all of her students.

Now infuses the same passion into her writing about the 'nightmare' that she and other Texas Teachers face.

"During the regular state legislative session it felt as if education and educators had been targeted. So now teachers and other school employees, active and retired, are rising up like the proverbial 'sleeping giant.’"

She goes on to explain the political issues presented, and her unflinching opinion about what needs to happen in order to ensure that teachers have what they need. She goes into detail explaining just how dismal the future is for Texas' retired teachers.

Also, retirees have not had a cost of living raise in 16 years. And back to that health insurance, the prescription plan has been cut, the benefits have been cut and yet we will pay one-third to one-half of our take home to pay for it. For the average retiree who takes home a $2,000 monthly pension it will eat their check. And, even more heartbreaking is that 30 percent of public school retirees bring in $1,000 or less before insurance.

Here's what some parents don't realize. Teachers don't just give their time from 8:00 - 3:30. They give their lives. They give up time with their own families, friends and resources to make sure that their students have what they need. Bardwell goes on to conclude her article by imploring everyone to reach out to politicians to force a change.

The least the state of Texas can do is give educators what they have EARNED and what they were promised when they became teachers.

If you believe this as well, please call and e-mail Gov. Abbott and your senators and representatives NOW and tell them you expect them to do what is right by educators and education.

It is the right thing to do.

And, we need every single voice out there speaking with us and for us.

If I had it to do it all over again?

I would still be a teacher.

I just can't afford to be a retired teacher.

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