Parents aren’t the only ones who spend big on back-to-school supplies. Thousands of teachers around the United States offset their school supply budgets by forking over close to $600 of their own money just for the most basic of supplies. Some of the most sought-after items include staples, copy paper, holiday decorations and colored pencils, but, for many educators, the list has grown to hygiene items and clothing. It’s these day-to-day necessities that leave teachers scrambling to ensure they have the items their classrooms need to run smoothly.
Two-thirds of all classroom supplies are purchased by teachers, and more than 91 percent of teachers offset the lack of basic supplies for students that fall under the poverty line. The costs quickly add up, and out-of-pocket teaching supplies can equal close to $1 billion every year.
The Impact of a Well-stocked Classroom
Sadly, without these expenditures, many classrooms would lack the resources children need to learn or to participate in creative projects, and with the majority of public school students living under the poverty line, many parents simply can’t afford to pay for supplies.
When teachers are able to provide their impoverished students with adequate supplies, their learning experience is transformed – their limitations become opportunities and equality in the classroom environment.
Finding a Solution
The year 2018 has carried a continuous debate around education policy, school choice, vouchers and teacher training. Budgets are spread further and tax dollars are intensely debated. What we must remember is that students need tools to learn, and it’s incumbent on parents, school districts and policymakers to fight for these resources. Parents must urge their local school districts and state legislatures to adequately fund education, including instituting programs that outfit teachers and schools with the supplies students need in order to learn. Teachers must remain vocal about the supplies they need the most and advocate for the districts that have the greatest needs. We should not let a lack of basic supplies keep them from doing their jobs. It’s time to support our teachers, give them the tools they need and ensure that all classrooms are well stocked throughout the school year. Our children deserve better, and understanding there’s a need helps to create conversations about solutions.
It’s our hope that every classroom will soon have access to unlimited supplies pencils, pens, highlighters, chalk erasers, crayons, STEM toys, books and highlighters – simply, tools that help our children learn. The basics can seem so basic in the right light.