Should I Be Scared to Teach in the USA?

Moving to the United States will be my first International School experience. That is, if I go through with it. I’ve visited countries that border on my country, but a move to America will put me further away than I’ve ever been from my home of record, France.

There is an attitude in the USA that scares me and is the reason I’m writing. I have been following USA news and starting to question, Is America the place for me? Random and targeted mass shootings, constant inflation, banned school books, hate crimes and angry anti-vaxxers have me more than just a little concerned. Is it just sensationalist news and isolated incidences I’m reading about, or is it really as bad as it looks?

I’ve already applied to French International Schools in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, New Orléans, Los Angeles, Detroit, Indianapolis and Philadelphia. I have positive replies so far from 3 of them.

San Francisco and New Orléans are at the top of my list. Texas is not on my list and Chicago should be off because these places look gun crazy and far too conservative, along with most of middle America. Los Angeles looks good.

I would love to hear from teachers for whom living and teaching in America was/is an International Experience, and from Americans with insights to share. Should I take the USA off my list altogether at this time?

Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

56 thoughts on “Should I Be Scared to Teach in the USA?

  1. Now that we are in July, I hope you have a completely different opinion of how serious gun violence is in the US. While it is true that such violence would not likely ever come to an international school, is this the sort of place one would want to come to? The USA has a large faction of people who want to make it a Right Wing land—do not take these things lightly.

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    1. Um… did you forget that Europe has a HOT WAR going on right now? US gun violence has nothing on Russian missiles being lobbed into a apartment buildings.

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    2. Your answer is absurd to say the least and shows a complete inability to look at the details. The original question was about going to the United States, not to Russia or the Ukraine. If the writer asked if it was safe to go to the Ukraine, we would tell him/her – NO! The writer is asking about America, so stop comparing America to another country. Please stay on topic.

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    3. I fail to see why you cannot pay attention to the details of the original post. The writer who started this discussion was asking about coming to AMERICA: He/she was not asking about Ukraine or Germany or Bali—-he/she was asking about AMERICA. Therefore, violence going on in other parts of the world or even comparing this to any other part of the world is IRRELEVANT. The discussion is about AMERICA!!!! I feel scared that you teach students and yet cannot pay attention to important details. If you would go back and read the original post, the writer refers to mass shootings, hate crimes, anti-vaxxers, and banned school books. The writer is talking about personal safety in AMERICA. So, all these other posts about social services are irrlevant just as your comparison to war in Ukraine is irrelevant.

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  2. I would like to chime in, if I may, as I think that I have a bit of experience in regards to what you are proposing. Obviously, it isn’t the same, but I think that based on your writing I have a decent idea of where your head is at and what you are concerned about.

    A little about myself: I’m currently finishing up a master’s degree at an Ivy League university here in the USA. After this, my wife and I plan on leaving the country to teach abroad, possibly even in your own country! We have both lived outside the US for several years, in a few different countries, but were both born and raised in the USA. My mother has also been an international school teacher for over a decade, in Macau China, so it’s not even just my own perspective I will be commenting upon.

    Don’t come to teach in America.

    I can’t really put it anymore plain than that, (even if the phrasing comes off as a tad dramatic) but I will elaborate as to why I think you should try to secure a position somewhere else.

    America has a truly astounding level of violence, hatred, bigotry, and anti-intellectualism compared to many other places in the world. Much of the violence that is encountered here is a direct result of our, let us say “overly enthusiastic” police force, while some of it can be placed as the fault of various cultural factors that have created reverence and acceptability of harm that is difficult to make sense of to an outsider. Honestly, I have a hard time of it myself…

    Let us take a few of the states I have lived in over the years: Florida and Virginia. In Florida, there is a common cultural practice where if a person is angered upon the roadway they proceed to follow their offender and attempt to coerce them into pulling over for a physical confrontation. Often this leads to accidents of various kinds, and perhaps equally often this results in things like shootings, stabbings or beatings. I have been personally attacked in this fashion before (and it was a BIZARRE and surreal experience!) and have also had friends of mine who were beaten, hospitalized, and in one case actually killed from one of these incidents.

    In both Virginia and Florida, incidents of gun violence unrelated to the road are also common enough that most people will have a story or two to tell about friends, acquaintances, or relatives that have either been shot or simply shot at. My stepfather, for example, has a long list of former friends who have been fatally shot. Strangely, this sort of thing is often seen as simply unavoidable here, where even very law-abiding people routinely carry concealed weapons with them for even minor errands. If the presence of firearms, violently unstable people, or a combination of the two is something you don’t think you can handle as a semi-regular occurrence… I would say you should probably avoid this country.

    Of course, these sorts of things are comparatively rare. Yes, a lot of the folks you meet will know someone who has been in or around a shooting or (more common every day) a mass shooting. Yes, the news has become so saturated with stories of shootings and mass shootings that many events that would dominate the news cycle of other countries are now barely even mentioned. Still, these events are rare enough that, for example, I barely think about the time that my wife watched someone get stabbed directly outside of our apartment (within walking distance of one of the most prestigious universities in the world). I suppose what I am saying is: you do have to understand and protect yourself against violence here. That has simply become a fact of our culture, albeit one that you will most likely not have to deal with on most days.

    Perhaps the more common problems that will arise are the issues of health care and pay that some others have mentioned. The American healthcare system is really second to none in the world if you are extremely wealthy. Provided you have literally millions of dollars, there is nowhere even close to the level of technology and care that can be accessed here. For everyone else… well… There is a good reason that the prevailing attitude of Americans in regards to healthcare is simply: “Don’t get sick!”

    I now have what is considered fairly decent insurance. My mother, when she was still working/living here, had even better insurance. About a year ago I went to my doctor to talk about anxiety regarding an ongoing medical issue, and my ability to pay for that issue should it get worse. I was charged $600 for that conversation on medical cost anxiety, as it was deemed unessential and thus uncovered by my insurance. My mother, despite having “good” insurance, initially had to leave this country as she could no longer afford to pay for my stepfather’s insulin costs. If you are NOT extremely wealthy: you need to worry about healthcare in America. It is a legitimate, pressing need that will affect you in any situation aside from perfect ongoing health.

    Teacher salaries are also simply pathetic here, and the respect garnered among the public for the profession is proportional to that. The attitude here is one of: “If you can’t do, teach!” and teachers and teaching positions are considered to be almost universally sub-par, fall-back type employment fit only for those who have in some way made a mess of their own lives and cannot do anything else. This has paired nicely with the rampant culture of anti-intellectualism, which has given rise to outright hostility and contempt for those who would spend their time as teachers.

    Now, you might notice that some of the responses on this thread counteract these statements quite strongly. There are a few reasons for that, the largest of which is probably the simple truth that there is nothing like a truly universal experience in a country as vast as America. Another reason is that, unfortunately, a lot of those who expect the best of this nation are simply those who have lucked into experiencing its benefits while avoiding its pitfalls. I hesitate to use words like “privilege” here as they carry a certain political charge, but there really are a lot of people who have been fortunate enough to avoid being affected by the very real problems of this country. I don’t believe this is any personal failing of these folks, but I would also think critically as to why it is that so many independent organizations have so consistently pointed out the incidents of violence, hatred, hate crimes, and other problematic aspects of our country if these things are, in fact, not the case.

    As an outsider looking in, I would ask you to consider whether it is more likely that nearly every news organization or sociological study has somehow been false in their conclusions of very real and very prevalent social problems… or that some nice and patriotic fellow on the internet might not have the most unbiased perspective on these same issues.

    To me, the conclusion is the same:

    Don’t teach in America.

    I sincerely hope that this helps.

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  3. Hello,
If you are still curious, you should be careful of people telling you what the US is like, who have never lived in the US. Further, be careful of all the people that have a political axe to grind with their opinion. There are some facts you should consider before taking their opinions into account.
    First, the USA is *huge* compared to European countries. Texas is larger than all of France, and California is close. Even if you ignore Alaska, the US is a *third larger* than all of non-Russia Europe. When you ask ‘should I teach in the US’, its more like saying ‘should I teach anywhere in Europe”
So when you hear “don’t go, this (thing) happened in the US”, remember that currently Europe has a *shooting war* going on, and entire cities being destroyed. Does that mean you should avoid teaching in Spain? Some things get a lot of media attention, but that is a very small part of reality. I am sure you can think of 4 places in France that are *very* different places…. now think of all of Europe. Is Sweden the same as Portugal? Greece? Romania? Albania?
    The different states of the US are similar to the different countries in the EU. They have different laws, different rules, different educational systems. So while NOLA has almost all charter schools, other places have almost none. This can be a pain for you, since there are few reliable consistencies. Not only in each state, but each *district* sets its own payscale and other regulations. And then private/charter schools are different from that. In general, schools tend to have good health insurance, especially the public schools. But there will be some exceptions.
    For all the complaining about teacher pay…. somehow teachers are working and living and doing just fine. I have neglected teaching in Europe because the pay doesn’t look very good to me, and the taxes are crazy high. OTOH, I realize that European teachers are making it work. There are plenty of places in the US where teachers make pretty good money, especially when you consider the work year is ~180 days and a solid benefit package. But again, states and districts are different, some are better/worse than others.
    It seems that many Europeans view the US as the wild west, with gunfights breaking out all the time. I lived and worked in VA for 5 years, where it is legal for anyone that owns a gun to walk around with it unconcealed. In that time I saw a grand total of 1 gun. And it was on a middle aged mom. Again, its a huge country, there are some places you may want to steer clear of, like south side chicago, or South Bronx, but you weren’t going there anyway.
    There are no banned books, almost no hate crimes, and almost no anti-vaxxers. School districts must decide which books to required reading, and schools make different choices. Those books are not ‘banned’. Many of the most publicized ‘hate crimes’ turn out to be hoaxes, though some few are real (again, a huge country), and most of those ‘anti-vaxxers’ are really just ‘anti-forced-mandate’ people.
    Some places have a really high cost of living….just like moving to luxembourg, or London, or plenty of other places in Europe. Other places have much lower cost of living. Downtown London vs small town Romania…. big difference. You will need to check the cost of living vs salary, just like moving anywhere else in the world.
    There is not free universal single payer health care. But otherwise, the healthcare system is pretty much best in class. The system does break down for those without insurance, but you will have insurance, so it shouldn’t be much of a problem for you. Like any other international posting, pay attention to what the insurance does and doesn’t cover, or what the restrictions are, and you should be fine.
    Or, if its too much of a risk for your comfort level, look for a place more like France.
    Good luck in whatever you choose.

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    1. Well said and spot on! The United States is HUGE!!!!! The USA is so diverse.
      I taught public schools for thirteen years and never had the issues people always associate with public schools. By the way, I worked in a Title 1 school and I taught students from all different socio-economic backgrounds. It truly depends on the district and where you live. Just like it would be if you lived in a country in Europe or Asia.

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  4. There is some data here. It’s imperfect. But according to Gallup, ~150 million people in the world want to move to the USA.

    No other country is close. Germany and Canada are distant second and third, around 40 million.

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/245255/750-million-worldwide-migrate.aspx

    Of course it’s just a survey. And of course the crowd may be wrong. Maybe they should be scared.

    But in the Wisdom Of Crowds, James Surowiecki makes a good case for the diverse individuals who make up a crowd.

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    1. Right! If it were so terrible, wealthy Chinese mainlanders wouldn’t be willing to shell out $800,000 for an “investor visa” and starting some bogus business just to get a green card.

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    2. To all those who think the USA poses no threat and that other countries have their issues–now we have Buffalo and then 4 days later – Uvalde – in a primary school no less! What other country has this type of carnage!

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  5. I could , most likely, go into a rant about any Country in the world. Think about all the things that never get reported to the media or are squashed. Salaries? Packages? It’s great to work overseas if you are solo or a teaching couple and have the great package. Save money and have a retirement plan. It’s easy to get a social group going overseas, after all you are all expats. Some people find happiness in many countries, I understand that. My real point here is that The United States has its drawbacks, but so does everywhere else. Are the salaries that low? Starting salary in Florida is $47,000. With that you get medical, pension and other perks. Top in some districts is 70,000 or close. Is it great? Tell me in 20 years when you have enough to get your social security pension or keep working and add to your pension until you retire. Hopefully, you can have a house along the way. You should be able to have a citizenship well before that……oh, forgive me….not every place does that. If someone wants to come from France and try out American life, it could easily work out. Don’t start with all the United States is going downhill stuff.

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    1. A foreigner is NOT going to get hired in a public school, which is where posters are citing salaries. Florida pays well, for a reason, Other districts in bigger cities will pay well, with many years of experience and MA, but those are also in areas expensive to live demonstrated by high real estate taxes to pay for the schools. Again, unless they can be hired by an ACTUAL international school with an ACTUAL expat package that INCLUDES health insurance paid by the school, housing stipend that will actually cover their rent, enough to pay utilities, and buy a car since most fancy international schools are in large cities and cars are a must…all the great TRAVEL in the USA will be expensive. AND FOR THE RECORD…I was born and lived in the USA for 50 of my 59 years. I have been teaching in top international schools for the past nine years and taught at public, private, and parochial schools in the USA prior to that in 3 different states. So waxing eloquent about the joys of living in the USA might be a bit exaggerated by some of the prior postings.

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    2. A foreigner would need 2 things, besides the desire to come to the US, in no specific order. 1. Teacher certification in the State you are interested in, get your transcripts equated to American standards, translated if necessary, then apply to the DOE. 2. Apply for green card. If you get past those hurdles, you can work. Given the real teacher shortage, teachers are definitely needed. That takes a year plus in planning. 1 reason I keep my membership current on ISR is to read reviews on school I had worked at or are familiar with. I can’t help to notice a pattern, one of which I am glad to be free from. Many disgruntled posts telling of shrinking ships administrations that are cliques, not interested in teacher welfare , and other issues. After 15 years internationally, many very good schools, the majority of which I enjoyed fully, it’s refreshing to be working in a larger system and putting down roots. Each place is what you make it. Each place has positive and negatives.

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  6. People will rant about how bad the US is because of (fill in the blank) reasons.

    Keep in mind, not everyone has the same standard of living, and even within the most egalitarian countries, different people will have vastly different standards of living. I promise you, Musk and Bezos are not worried about gun violence or healthcare.

    The question you need to ask yourself is “will this job and living arrangement allow me the quality of life I want?”

    Personally, I would not advise coming to the US to work as a teacher for the above reason. The job simply will not allow you to have a reasonable standard of living. Plan on making between $40,000 to $50,000 per year before taxes, then trying to live off that in any major city. Unless you are coming with a partner, I’d forgo it.

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  7. I would never advise anyone to move to the US right now. For all of the reasons mentioned above and many more. If you have any health issues absolutely do not consider it. You will likely leave with less money than you arrived with. I’m from the US and even a brief visit results in serious mental strain. If you enjoy bleeding money and driving around to do everything and overpaying for housing and healthcare I suppose it could be your jam.

    Pick nearly any other country except Kuwait, China, or Russia.

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  8. As an American, the problem with teaching in most parts of America is the salary is not sufficient for teachers to live in an adequate place, pay their bills including health insurance, etc. Think about it, why would the USA need to “import” teachers? Only because the teaching conditions and pay are so tough, Americans (who already know the lay of the land) wouldn’t touch those jobs with a 10 foot pole. In the international arena–imported teachers are justified because it is a native language proficiency need driving the imports. My friend from Australia accepted a teaching job in North Carolina on one of those “Come teach in the USA” programs. The salary was terrible and she had to get a roommate which brought with it a whole new bunch of problems. She was at a tough inner city school. Her principal didn’t like foreigners very well and certainly wasn’t friendly. (I went to see her school and meet the staff. I am an American.) Another friend of mine (from India) taught on a program in Baltimore 20 years ago. She was made fun of because of her accent on English and the local community wasn’t very welcoming to her. To me– it is NOT so much a safety issue (but could be in some communities). It is a poverty level salary which will leave you unable to afford any standard of living. Some imported teachers from the Philippines rented a single house and live 20 in that house in one district I know of. They do this to maximize the money they send home. It is a housing code violation but no one turned them in yet. They are cohesive and like a big family. Personally, I could not advise true international teachers to consider the USA as a teaching destination. It simply isn’t worth it.

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  9. I do not think that “America is the place” for you, at this time. Anyone that writes,with such a broad brush, “Random and targeted mass shootings, constant inflation, banned school books, hate crimes and angry anti-vaxxers have me more than just a little concerned” needs to do a little more growing up and a little more maturing before handling the complexities of life, and certainly, the complexities of the USA. Indeed, you should “take the USA off your list altogether at this time?” Stay were you are at please.

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    1. Sadly, every time I come home to the US, I am shocked all over again by what resembles an LDC. I have lived in 7 countries and visited over 100 and the US just seems worse and worse every time I come home.
      US is decades behind all other developed countries in every important way: lack of a universal health care system like all of the 50 countries of Europe—as well as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Japan; massive inequality; lack of any effective gun control resulting in over 20,000+ US gun homicides, including 1,500 children every year; 1000+ police shootings annually… disproportionately of Blacks, huge numbers of homeless; virulent racism; and by far the largest prison population in the world…2.2 million…also disproportionately of Blacks, etc. By comparison with any other developed country the US is sadly very dangerous.
      For one example: everyone’s “right” to own a gun, tops your/my right to walk safely to school or to go to most public places…where we might be shot. (About 700 mass shootings every year.) And no, that is NOT what the 2nd Amendment says.
      But, the majority of Americans appear to have no idea how we compare with other developed countries…and why?
      Answer: Again… Lack of education about our own and world history, and a US media which feeds on this ignorance, and is mostly dominated by Fox and other news “sources” which do not reflect any reality of the real world.
      How do you get Americans to cheer completely invented wars; for only one recent example, the war which destroyed Iraq based on the total lies of “weapons of mass destruction”? The wars backed by what Eisenhower warned against: the “Military-Industrial Complex”; as well as the support of most of the mainstream US media/press and a willfully indoctrinated US public.
      How do you get 74 million Americans to vote for a misogynistic racist who advocated violence against women, immigrants, and the press, and told 39,500+ recorded lies, many of which resulted in 500,000+ deaths from Covid (now 1 million.)
      How do you get a mob to attack the US Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the US Government because they believed the lies of this callous and willfully ignorant man?
      How do you get a majority of Republicans to still believe that the 2020 election was stolen when these claims were rejected as unfounded by at least 63 courts, including many headed by Trump-appointed judges.
      Answer: in large part…because our own history is not taught in US schools, resulting in American ignorance about genocide of the native people, about slavery, racism, and horrific inequality, all of which has been carried over to an ignorance of current events, as well as lack of knowledge about world history and how other successful developed countries function. And also resulting in support for wars in places most Americans could never identify on a map…let alone know anything of their history.
      Ignorance is costly. These wars have terrible consequences…not just for the millions killed; the orphans and widows…but also blowback for the US.
      And…even the expenditure of our recent wars: $21 Trillion…would buy a lot of medical care and social services which are desperately needed in the US.

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  10. I’m from the states as well and really it depends on where you live as far as safety. If you live in the inner city, then yes you should be cautious. If you live in the country, not so much. I’m from California and I consider Santa Cruz home however I would not move back there. Not because of a dangerous area but because it’s just too expensive, especially on a teacher’s salary. I would never live in SF because it’s crowded with lots of traffic. I would never live in LA because you really need a car and you can expect to sit in traffic. But like others have said, the USA is large and some areas are dangerous and others not so much. I am a person of color but I never had any issues because it really depends on where you are. One nice thing about the states is that the states are not all the same. You cannot make general comments and expect them to apply to every state. Yes, there are politics so go to the states that align with yours. If you’re worried about LGTBQ issues, then stay away from the conservative states. Like any new country you apply to, do your homework and don’t rely solely on the news. I currently live in Hong Kong and I cannot wait to get far away from this place. It all depends on what you are willing to put up with.

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  11. Forgot to add to my previous comment….

    Professionally I RESPECT public schools way more because of how they treat professionals…..

    My experience within the US at private and charter schools and my experience internationally at charter schools made me appreciate even more the things that were superior at the public schools:

    1. Workers rights
    2. Servant leaders
    3. Accountability
    4. Government intervention in holding leadership accountable
    5. The pay was always higher in public schools
    6. Availability of quality resources
    7. Less structural change, stability
    8. Equity
    9. Transparency
    10. Chances to practice leadership
    11. Compensation for doing more work.
    12. Community partnerships that help me save money.
    13. Healthcare : I paid 5 dollars a month for vision, physician, and dental. I actually got paid everytime I went to the doc.

    Not saying some US private and charter schools are not better or don’t provide these things, im saying from my experience in public schools there are expected and tested and clear Accountability Measures for making sure these things occur and are provided.

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    1. Your comments, I agree with. District/Public schools are better for all the reasons you mention. You have better contract stability ( Charter Schools often use At Will contracts- translation- arrive in the a.m. and let go in p.m. without recourse.) I would have to go back and check if original post was about French schools that exist and are connected to support with the French Consulate ( as for one in NOLO), and are not for profit. A school like that might be a good option. The working conditions snd contract are very important. Respect the host Country and keep your nose out of politics, don’t pay much attention to media and agenda’s ( other than looking after self and family), things will work out.

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    2. I’ve just recently launched myself into the international school arena from public school spaces. Thank you for articulating much of what I have been feeling is missing in my new workspace.

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  12. I think, much like when creating surveys, it’s important to know the background of the people answering the questions. Answering this needs ALOT OF context and perspective.

    -I’m a heterosexual woman, I’m 30, I’m of African decent, second generation American, grew middle class family all ny life in ft. Lauderdale (South Florida), family is from a French speaking and other side is from English colonized Island, I am pursuing ed leadership, I have traveled ALOT internationally even more than within the 50 states, I am currently teaching abroad, I attendee private public and charter schools, I ve worked in all 3 as well

    I’ll say this…. I LOVE south Florida. I do not like how attractive it is for everyone to move there, this is one reason cost of living is increasing, but I can’t blame them, it’s a fun place to live.

    When I was considering what state to move to before choosing internationally, I didn’t have alot of appealing options for my price range, and need for a larger amount of professional, diverse young, welcoming and chill black people besides awesome DC, cool Chicago, chill new orleans, and maybe somewhere in Texas but I’ve never been, just heard about Texas thriving black communities.

    Anyway I say all this to point out, everywhere has pros and cons, what the international community has taught me is that California Texas and some northern states get ALL of the publicity for representing America apparently…hahaha, and coming from my background, everywhere is a problem for me tbh.

    But South Florida is definitely NOT a horrible place for young people, especially Caribbean people. The rest of the State yall can have along with DeSantis. We don’t care what he wants 😂.

    I moved internationally literally just to do something different. I got quarantine fever and wanted a change. 🤷🏾‍♀️

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  13. Your question misses the most important factor: your ethnicity. If you are white, you will probably be alright. If you are a person of colour—that will be an entirely different situation. Sexual orientation will be another factor: if you think the USA is going to stop with Roe vs. Wade – they are not. You never know who they will come after next.

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  14. We only managed a year working in the States, near San Fransisco. For all the reasons you said.
    The only people that actually like America are Americans because they have some sort of strange loyalty to their country, despite it being a completely broken place.
    Although San Francisco has tons of interesting things to do and there are lots of beautiful places to hike locally, you never feel quite safe in the city because it’s over run by homelessness and poverty. Going to visit a friend and being too scared to walk down one of the streets (it was spray painted “No outsiders” on the ground and filled with tents) really stuck with us as a symbol of everything that is wrong with that country. We’ve travelled a lot and lived in lots of different countries and never have we experienced a place where there is so little support for the people struggling in society and such a “well, I’m alright, Jack” attitude from the government. It’s harrowing and depressing.

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    1. Tell us how you really feel. I’m sorry that my love of country bothers you so much. Glad you were able to “escape”. Did you happen to visit the other 49 states to see how others live their lives? It’s a big country, and to paint all of America and Americans based on your one year in S.F. say a lot, sadly.

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  15. Don’t base your decision on the news. If we all did that, we would never go anywhere. We lived in China for two years and had the best experience, and so many people were worried for us due to the government. Here is my two cents: Every city in the world has it good parts and not so good parts. Every city has the neighborhoods you avoid. Every country has right and left wing wack jobs. The problem is that news outlets love these things because they bring ratings. Ignore them. Does the U.S. have more gun violence than many other places? Unfortunately yet. But I have lived in and visited many cities in my country and never had an issue. My husband and I currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area. We love SF and go there as often as we can. It has a decent transit system during the day, but the subway stops pretty early in the evening so we often drive. There is so much to do there, though. Chicago is one of the friendlies cities I’ve ever visited. Both times I was there people were very helpful when I was lost. Also, it has a fantastic transit system. New Orleans is a cool experience. There is no other place I know of like it. Not a great transit system, though. You will need a car. Houston is huge! You have to have a car there. As for politics – despite what the news may have you think, people don’t care what your politics are for the most part. No matter where you decide to live, just use common sense and have a sense of adventure. We have some great things to offer of here.

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    1. Are you serious!!!!! Are you saying that the Buffalo shooting is fake? Is George Floyd fake? Was hate against Asians during the pandemic fake? Is Roe vs. Wade fake? The original post has nothing to do with transit systems—it is expressing Angst against how people are treated!!!!!!! Common sense has nothing to do with it. If some of your governors start deciding that certain children should not be educated, or that the Constitution does not even guarantee every child an ducation, or that certain classic books and pieces of art should be removed—that has nothing to do with common sense.

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    2. You seem to really hate Americans and the United States JR. I don’t know where you live, but I and most Americans are livid and horrified by Buffalo, George Floyd, the racism, and what is possibly about to happen to Roe v. Wade. This is what happens when good people don’t vote and an extreme movement makes its way into the government – in our case the White House. We are dealing with a racist/white supremacist/nationalistic/faux Christian movement here in the United States, but we are NOT the only ones. We are just easy to pick on because anything bad that happens here is broadcast throughout the world. Believe me I am not excusing anything that has happened. It disgusts me, but stereotyping all of the United States as gun toting, racist, idiots is wrong as well. Right now there are nationalistic movements happening throughout Europe. Look at Poland. There are African students studying in Ukraine. When the war broke out, they made their way to Poland with everyone else. They were not allowed in at first, and when they finally were allowed to enter the country racist thugs came to beat them up and try to prevent them from entering. It took NGOs to get them in and protect them. Now the Polish government won’t even give them access to medical care or food assistance. Does that mean I am going to say everyone in Poland is a racist thug? No. I’ve lived and traveled throughout United States and in many parts of the world and I know better than to stereotype people through their government. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly everywhere I’ve been. What I’ve found is no matter where you go, you find hate, you find fear, but mostly you find amazing good people. The United States is a huge country with many different cultures, religions, and belief systems. I live here and when I don’t like something that is happening, I have the freedom to fight back through voting, through protest, etc. Not everyone has that freedom. I do not take it for granted.

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  16. Go to the U.S. you will have an amazing time.

    Based on your logic though,…

    France is a horrible place to live. As an American, people will disrespect me, and will be rude. I can’t rely on transportation because there are always strikes.
    Cars are constantly set on fire and ill be afraid for my life walking down the street during a protest.

    My mother in Law will go to jail for wearing her hijab and she cannot go to the beach or pick our daughter up at school.

    I will never be able to walk on the streets without fear of someone stealing my purse.

    Is this an accurate description? My guess is no. But this is what we see im the news. Same with what you see on the news about the U.S. it’s not anything like you see on the television.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Really!!!!!!!! So the buffalo shooting and George Floyd were not real. Several governors now claiming that they will not educated non-documented kids is not real. Screaming to not only overturn Roe vs.Wade and then ban an criminalize every single abortion–even rape–is not real????

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    2. Sadly, every time I come home to the US, I am shocked all over again by what resembles an LDC. I have lived in 7 countries and visited over 100 and the US just seems worse and worse every time I come home.
      The US is decades behind all other developed countries in every important way: lack of a universal health care system like all of the 50 countries of Europe—as well as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Japan; massive inequality; lack of any effective gun control resulting in over 20,000+ US gun homicides, including 1,500 children every year; 1000+ police shootings annually… disproportionately of Blacks, huge numbers of homeless; virulent racism; and by far the largest prison population in the world…2.2 million…also disproportionately of Blacks, etc. By comparison with any other developed country the US is sadly very dangerous.
      For one example: everyone’s “right” to own a gun, tops your/my right to walk safely to school or to go to most public places…where we might be shot. (About 700 mass shootings every year.) And no, that is NOT what the 2nd Amendment says.
      But, the majority of Americans appear to have no idea how we compare with other developed countries…and why?
      Answer: Again… Lack of education about our own and world history, and a US media which feeds on this ignorance, and is mostly dominated by Fox and other news “sources” which do not reflect any reality of the real world.
      How do you get Americans to cheer completely invented wars; for only one recent example, the war which destroyed Iraq based on the total lies of “weapons of mass destruction”? The wars backed by what Eisenhower warned against: the “Military-Industrial Complex”; as well as the support of most of the mainstream US media/press and a willfully indoctrinated US public.
      How do you get 74 million Americans to vote for a misogynistic racist who advocated violence against women, immigrants, and the press, and told 39,500+ recorded lies, many of which resulted in 500,000+ deaths from Covid (now 1 million.)
      How do you get a mob to attack the US Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the US Government because they believed the lies of this callous and willfully ignorant man?
      How do you get a majority of Republicans to still believe that the 2020 election was stolen when these claims were rejected as unfounded by at least 63 courts, including many headed by Trump-appointed judges.
      Answer: in large part…because our own history is not taught in US schools, resulting in American ignorance about genocide of the native people, about slavery, racism, and horrific inequality, all of which has been carried over to an ignorance of current events, as well as lack of knowledge about world history and how other successful developed countries function. And also resulting in support for wars in places most Americans could never identify on a map…let alone know anything of their history.
      Ignorance is costly. These wars have terrible consequences…not just for the millions killed; the orphans and widows…but also blowback for the US.
      And…even the expenditure of our recent wars: $21 Trillion…would buy a lot of medical care and social services which are desperately needed in the US.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Don’t do it. I’ve never lived in France. However, I am guessing that French society somewhat cares about you (or at least tries to make France livable). For example, if you don’t mind living in rural France, can you find an apartment to rent for about 300 or 400 euros a month (like you can in Italy)? This will be IMPOSSIBLE (please read that word several times) in the United States. Especially in San Francisco where you will be paying TEN TIMES that or 3000 euros a month and be living in a place where homeless people shit outside your door.

    The problems don’t end there. The next thing to consider is health care. At least, you won’t have to worry about owning a house or a condo because if you go to the hospital you will have to sell it to pay for the medical bills. Isn’t that wonderful!? You won’t have a house anymore, but at least you won’t have the stress of a medical bill anymore right?

    Next, the United States is easily the most dangerous country I have ever lived in. I’ve lived in Saudi Arabia, so that’s saying a lot.

    Next, there is the FACT that if you don’t live in a major city, you will NEED (not nice to have, or would kind of like to, but NEED) to have a car because people in the United States don’t like to invest in public transportation.

    You are a teacher so this might not effect you, but it’s also a fact that people in the United States don’t take time off. You might get two weeks of vacation if you are VERY LUCKY. Putting in about 50 hours a week is considered standard. No such thing as a guaranteed one month off like you have in France or Italy.

    To put it more succinctly, France, and pretty much the rest of the world (including China) is about seeing to it that you have a reasonably decent life. The United States is about getting as much money out of you as they can, and if they can’t get any money from you, they won’t do anything. The saying “If you don’t have the money, you won’t get the honey” applies to EVERYTHING in the United States.

    Please go ANYWHERE else other than the United States. Well, I take that back. Maybe the United States is preferable to South Africa, Lybia, or Somalia, but you get the picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have always found it strange that many workers in the US only get 2 weeks holiday per year. When you are used to 4 weeks as standard, and 5 weeks for certain jobs or areas, it takes some getting used to. Not to mention sick leave that accrues (or family leave, bereavement leave, cultural leave, etc.). There number of national holidays also seems to be lacking.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I have lived and worked as a school librarian in Connecticut, Minneapolis, Florida, Dallas, Berlin, and currently LA. I’ll never return to Dallas or Florida because of their state politics (esp. treatment of women, people of color, and the queer community). Many people in this thread talk about public schools. What no one has mentioned is that you have to have state certification and, generally, a degree in education. If a public or charter school wants to hire you without it, steer clear! There are true international schools in all major cities, but do your homework. You want to look for either International Baccalaureate, a British curriculum, or something similar. Also look at the school’s demographics to see what percentage of the students are not U.S. citizens.

    For the most part, crime is restricted to certain areas of a city. Check city-data.com (esp. the forums) to get accurate information. Also look at Numbeo’s cost of living comparison tool to get a pretty accurate idea of what you’d need to earn in a U.S. city compared to where you are now. Definitely consider a city with a good public transportation system. It’s really nothing like Europe, and in most cities you’ll need a car. The current cost of gas, high insurance rates, property tax on your vehicle, and crumbling infrastructure make it both expensive and very stressful to drive in most cities.

    LA is a nightmare. The homeless situation is out of control, but I blame the government more that the unhoused people. There is very little public transport and it’s very inefficient. The metro area is huge and over-crowded, so expect about 15 miles per hour to get anywhere. Gas is about $6/gallon give or take, and housing is very expensive (although not as bad as San Francisco or New York). Also, if the thought of earthquakes terrifies you, it’s a dealbreaker, esp. since we’re overdue for a big one (the last one, Northridge, was almost 30 years ago).I’m leaving LA and moving to NYC so that I don’t have to rely on a vehicle or deal with the extremely poor air quality during wildfire season.

    I also need to mention healthcare. It is outrageously expensive and, with so many medical professionals leaving the field since the pandemic began, it can take forever to find doctors and specialists who have openings. Just to give you an idea, I work in a prestigious, well-endowed private school, but I pay over $700/month for insurance for myself and my daughter. Despite that, I still have to pay large amounts out of pocket because most doctors I can get in to see are out-of-network and only 70% reimbursable from my insurance company. Drug prices are also sky high if you don’t have excellent insurance.

    As a U.S. citizen who’s lived in Berlin and London, I don’t recommend moving here. In fact, I’m planning to retire to Western Europe in the next few years for all of the reasons I’ve mentioned above. I’m also extremely worried about the theocratic and authoritarian direction our country is headed in. Yes, northeast and west coast states, especially the cities, are liberal, but Democratic voters are apathetic, so I anticipate conservative Republicans to be control of Congress in November and, God help us, an authoritarian President (perhaps even Trump again) in 2024.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Teacxhing overseas, like state-side has its challenges and in some cases you are at far greater risk overseas than at home. There are problems and issues that arise in your country that don’t often exist overseas (strikes, student violence, violent parents, gun violence, etc.) but for the most part North America is a safe place to work. One has to do their due diligeance, regardless of where one wants to work.

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  20. I’ve found that the distance of an ocean and media (all media) sensationalism completely warps our perception. As an American living abroad, I even experienced it about my home country. Some years ago, after my daughter was born, I looked to moving home so she could know my family and her culture. But after 12 years abroad, I was worried to bring a toddler back to the US. There were shootings, child predators, racism (my child is mixed-race), etc. I had major concerns.

    It took a few months of being home for me to realize how distorted my view had become. I liken it to how Americans perceive the rest of the world. For example, when, pre-COVID, I invited family members to meet me and my daughter in Paris (we’ve moved abroad again) for Christmas, my sister asked if I was sure I wanted to go there because “They throw acid on you in the subway.” Has this happened in Paris? Yes. Could it happen to me? It’s not impossible, but very unlikely.

    Your concerns are not completely out of the realm of reality, but the typical American going about their daily lives does just that – they live. They have rich lives. They take precautions, like you would in France. You lock your doors. You don’t leave your valuables lying about. You don’t go to certain areas during certain times, etc. But 99.999% of the time, you just go about your business without worrying about the sorts of concerns you describe.

    As a single-mom and a teacher, when I moved home, I had to live in cheap housing, so it wasn’t in the best part of town. And I was living in one of the most violent cities in the US at that time. We were totally fine. After a few months, I lost that fear I’d had about moving home. I visited family members and friends living in very small, very white towns. My beautiful, black child was universally embraced and strangers would oooh and ahhh over her. My fears had been completely overblown, and I should have known better because I grew up in the US. I’d truly had an idyllic childhood there.

    Having said that, I do want to warn you about a few things. I’m was born in New Orleans and I grew up nearby. And while I would absolutely recommend NOLA to the world, you can’t be naive about it. For one thing, the “international” schools in NOLA are not truly international. Due to our French heritage and through the support of CODIFIL, we have a lot of French immersion schools. In NOLA, you will probably be placed in a public charter school (nearly every public school in NOLA is a charter school), and it will likely be a Title 1 school, or very close to being a Title 1 school. These are schools that serve the very under-privileged. It may have all the problems that come with Title 1 schools. This is not to discourage you from going there. I’ve worked in Title 1 schools in Louisiana and it has been very rewarding. But you will probably not be teaching wealthy children of educated parents who greatly value education, and your approach to teaching has to be much more holistic and not so academic. If you understand that going in, you should be fine.

    NOLA is the sort of place that gets into your bones. Some people hate it, but most people absolutely love it. It’s a way of life, not just a city. I’m homesick! (We are in China and so we haven’t been home since 2019.)

    I also wouldn’t rule out Texas! For one thing, those schools really are “international.” At least in the sense of curriculum and likely in terms of student demographics. But also, Texas is a great place to live. Don’t let the media fool you! Are you looking at Houston? It’s a big, sprawling city, and there are certainly some awful suburban areas in it, but that is true of any American city. Houston is very cosmopolitan and truly diverse. In great part because it is a medical hub for the world, you’ll find a lot of recent immigrants from around the world. And the breadth of activities available to you in Houston are impossible to catalog.

    Good luck.

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  21. I think cost of living should factor into your decision and public transportation, unless you want to buy a car. All of the cities you listed have pro’s and con’s, but I think you will find most US cities are fairly liberal and most of the conservatives are in the suburbs/rural areas. A few great things about living in the US: amazing food (all cuisines!), diversity of cultures, and beautiful and varied landscapes. There is gun violence and it can be random, but is mostly restricted to certain areas. I don’t think you should worry about it, but again be smart and choose a safe area to live in.

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  22. I certainly wouldn’t go there – but that isn’t a recent decision on my part.
    It’s not about my personal safety, it’s about the the moral code that underpins everything the government, Rep or Dem, does in the international sphere.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I am French, and I taught in the USA for 15 years. I think you have it all wrong. Unless they pay you extremely well, SF should not be on your list. It is not the idyllic place depicted on tv shows, far from it. Same with LA, plus you may have to drive for hours to go to work. Houston and Chicago on the other hand are very nice places to live. But, I would pick Houston. Chicago is too cold for my liking. Also, make sure to receive very good health coverage from your school. Indianapolis is boring.

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    1. Absolutely agree. Except I would pick NOLA first and Houston second :-). Or Austin. Or possibly even Dallas. I would definitely avoid SF and LA!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. San Francisco, Chicago, and LA have some of the strictest gun laws and yet have some of the highest incidents of gun violence. I am originally from LA and I would NEVER move back there. Too expensive, dirty, and violent. Indianapolis is far better. It has its problems, but it is much safer and cheaper to live there.
    Hate crimes are in the news because it sells advertising. 99% of Americans are not anything like what you see on CNN or other trashy media. Look at the local news stations and websites to get a “better” idea of what the areas are like. The “anti-vaxxers” are also over-hyped in the news. It’s a small percentage. The inflation issue? Blame the current administration for that. They have no idea how to handle an economy. Don’t worry about them though, they’ll be out in 2024.
    Bottom line is that the US can be a great experience if that’s what you are looking for. Do your research and find a place that you think “feels like home”. If you can’t see yourself retiring there, it’s not the place for you.
    Good luck!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Blame the current administration for global inflation connected to a global pandemic, global supply chain disruptions, and a Russian invasion of Ukraine cheered on by MAGA republicans? I sure hope you don’t teach economics or Social Studies.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I’m an American and nearly 10 of my 14 years of teaching have been spent spent outside of the U.S. When my wife and I arrived in Brazil in 2018, we found out that she was pregnant (she’s American as well). We had our son in Brazil, he’s got dual citizenship, and we had a very happy life in our small apartment and beautiful school community. We had decided to move home before the pandemic hit in order to raise our family closer to relatives because we thought it would be good for him and for us. We’ve been home now for nearly two years, and I still feel uncomfortable every day.

    Home for us is in the Detroit-metro area. I teach in my local neighborhood district, and everything is vastly different than it was since the last time I taught in the U.S., which was 2015-2016. Luckily I teach in an elementary school, but the middle school and high school in my district do struggle with physical violence among staff on a daily and weekly basis; police have been called to the high school several times this year. I struggle with student attendance and have about 1/5 of my class has been absent 40 or more days this school year. Gun violence isn’t an issue (in my district at least), but politics in Michigan vary greatly depending on where you live. If you choose Michigan, I would stay away from Detroit Public Schools Community District.

    You’ll also find that many districts will not pay you for all of your years of experience per their collective bargaining agreements. You will also not be provided any living assistance whatsoever, and rents are climbing higher every month. Car insurance in Michigan is the highest in the country, which is also something to consider.

    My wife and I were lucky enough to be able to buy our home before the market went crazy, and I live close enough to work that gas is negligible. Inflation is evident everywhere you go, and supply chains are still an issue. We have a good life here, but having family makes it easier. We would love to go abroad someday again when the time is right. As Americans, this is not the place we want to stay the rest of our lives.

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  26. I’ve lived in Texas for a year now and find the people among the friendliest I have ever met. Also, there is no State Tax – which is a big deal. Houston is a fun city, but you have to drive everywhere. There are no pedestrians!

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  27. I have lived in several cities in the US including San Francisco. San Francisco is incredibly expensive and completely overrun with homeless by choice and the mentally ill. I now live in Houston, Texas and it is one of the most fun and livable cities in the US. I advise you not to choose a school by these simple stereotypes of the cities that they are located in and instead choose the best school that pays a reasonable wage. All cities have their strengths and weaknesses, don’t cross off entire areas of the country because of innacurate generalisms.

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  28. New Orleans is dangerous. Rents are very high for what you get. Burglar bars on any first floor apt are a must. It is a fun city. Moved there when I was a teenager and still have relatives there. There is not much of a public transit system and you will need a car. Hurricane season has lengthened. Evacuating is hard in and of itself. Renters insurance does not cover flooding in apts.

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  29. Wow, where to start? Chicago is actually one of the most liberal cities in the US. In addition, Chicago has gun control laws that are among the most strict in the whole country. So you should feel quite safe there, right? Do some research away from CNN and CNBC and the facts might surprise you.

    Briefly about your other options since you asked for feedback- Sure, if you enjoy camps of homeless people and lawlessness (they try to suppress a lot of this on the news), then by all means move to San Francisco or L.A. Both of those cities have turned into absolute dumps. It’s really quite sad.

    Both the States of California and Illinois are losing population because of the high taxes, rampant crime, and a homeless population that is completely out of control (the last one is more L.A and San Fran than Chicago).

    P.S.- Interesting enough, Texas is the fastest growing States. I wonder why that would be if it was so unsafe and full of scary “conservative” people?

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    1. And the ones I would pick if I were you is New Orleans (by far my #1 choice) and then Indianapolis (although it can be a bit boring).

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  30. Have taught internationally for 20 years before deciding to teach in the US. New Orleans would be 1 and Indianapolis 2 and the rest out on your list, for me anyway. Research those schools to get a feel for them. They may be billed as an international type of environment, but may also have many local teachers and the flavor tends to be different than actually teaching “overseas”. Rents can be incredibly high st this time, you will need a good health care plan in the package too. If the school is stable and doesn’t buy into political movements, then you should be happy there. Check out the State Government and the laws they pass. Some States prefer to make it hard for agenda groups to push their agenda’s, which I prefer. You will have lots of professional development opportunities, teachers tend to be well trained and go about their jobs. Warm climates make things easier . Violence, it’s there, be aware of your surroundings, it’s constantly in the media which makes it worse in some ways, that’s all I can offer about that. I would not be scared to come to the US , and if you do and not like it, then, like any international job, move on.

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    1. More than safety, I would seriously consider finances and job security. Although pay for public school teachers can be notoriously low, it is generally higher than private schools (which an international school will be). Be careful about the label “International” too. There are many charter schools (which are technically public schools), that will put “international” into their school name or claim it is a “German” or “French” school. This is important because your students will vastly differ depending on if it is a public or private institution. Since private schools are not privy to state education mandates, there could be a possibility of unqualified administration or staff, and you are not protected in your job to the same degree that a public teacher would be.

      As far as finances go, please consider this very carefully. Rent, all across America, and ESPECIALLY in the cities you mentioned, is absurdly high. Transportation is also absurdly high. Now, as we are in a state of inflation, the entire cost of living is high. I honestly don’t see how you could live comfortably in those cities unless your salary is 60K or more if you are single, and at least 80K or more if you have a family. It would be in your best interest to really dig in, research the cost of living in the cities you are interested in, and compare them to the salary scale of the schools you are applying to.

      (On a side note, as others mentioned, San Francisco and LA are currently unpleasant places to live in. I would scratch those two right off of your list.)

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