EXPO markers and the reasons you need to buy the larger packs of them


Last week, I went to school supply shopping. As I have said many, many times before, I love to shop for school supplies. This year, it cost us $343.00 for school supplies and uniforms for both of our boys. Most people complain about the cost of school supplies they have to buy each year, or the amount of the supply fee they pay to the school.

I witnessed such a complaint while shopping and have been so disturbed since, that I had to write about it. While on the aisle looking for the EXPO markers, there was this woman with three girls, standing in front of the markers, complaining about the list of supplies, and the fact that they had to buy supplies. All three girls looked to be between middle school and high school. All three girls and their mother were carrying purses that cost well over $1,000 and shoes that run over $200. All three girls had on t-shirts from a resort that runs an average of $10,000 a week during the low season and were texting away on their smart phones. Now, before I tell you this, I can tell you that it is plausible that someone else, other than their mother, gave them the t-shirts, smart phones, shoes and purses, and they truly could not afford the school supplies. If that is the case, clearly I am being judgmental, but that’s a conversation for another day…. This is the conversation that occurred in front of the EXPO markers.

Mother: ‘It says you need 6 EXPO markers. There’s no more 6 packs.’

Daughter: ‘Then get the pack of 10.’

Mother: ‘I’m not paying $6.79 for them. Then we would be giving them 4 extra markers. I’m not doing that. This is just ridiculous, they can buy their own markers if they want to use them.’

Friends, I am telling you, the indignance of these people has not sat well with me. I haven’t written about this, in part, because I wanted to do some research on the subject. First, I know we have all heard that teachers usually buy school supplies out of their own pockets. The National School Supply & Equipment Association did a study last year on this very subject. Public school teachers spent 1.6 billion dollars of their own money to buy school supplies to do their job. When polled, 99.5% of all public school teachers spent $485 out of their pocket for supplies during the 2012-13 year. This is how it was broken down: $149 for school supplies, $198 for instructional materials, and $138 for ‘other classroom supplies’. (You can read the entire study here: www.thejournal.com/articles/2013/07/01/k12-teachers-out-of-pocket-1-point-6-billion-on-classroom-tools.aspx)

So, let me get this straight— someone who is teaching our future leaders, doctors, lawyers, bankers, basically anyone who will be living for the next 50 years, is having to pay money to do their job? What if you went to the hospital and you needed, say a shot? You pay for the syringe, medicine, alcohol pads, and the materials needed for the nurse and physician to do their job. If they told you that either a) you needed to pay a supply fee for the syringe, medicine, alcohol pads and the materials needed to perform this job or b) you had to bring the supplies, you would probably either pay the fee, or bring the supplies so that the nurse and physician could do their jobs.

I also looked at the average pay for teachers in East Baton Rouge Parish, since that is where I live and my children attend school. Starting out, a teacher in East Baton Rouge makes $43,536 the first year (you can find that here: http://www.ebrschools.net/eduweb1/1000144/docs/03.21.13item9.pdf). Let’s say, for shits and giggles, that they lose 30% of that to taxes, and they are taking home $30,475.20 a year. Are you really telling me that it sits well with you that they are paying almost $500 out of pocket to do their job?

I also broke down what it is costing me per day with spending $343 on school supplies for our two kids. So, EBR has 176 school days this upcoming year and per kid, we spent $171.50 on school supplies. This breaks down to us spending $.97 a day for the supplies the teachers need to instruct our kids for 7 hours a day. When you look at it this way, we’re getting away with a steal of a deal.

I will gladly pay that any day to the teachers and educators that do a job that I, myself, cannot do. I would encourage you to gladly pay for the supplies needed to teach your children. If you have the means, I also encourage you to give a little bit extra. If the teacher needs extra glue, spend the $1 to buy an extra bottle of glue.

It’s not much, but I reached around that woman complaining and picked up the 16 pack of EXPO markers. She may not think twice about the teachers doing their job and the supplies they need, but I can, and I will. You should, too, and you can buy them here: http://amzn.to/1W6ZEEU



1,144 thoughts on “EXPO markers and the reasons you need to buy the larger packs of them

    1. I’m a para and I invest into my classroom as well. With mothers like the one referred to above, I’d better double up…

    2. Posts like this make me so angry. UK schools receive HALF the funding American schools do. Our high school teachers start on20k and with A LOT of experience can get to 30k, they would be laughing with American wages, especially as our cost of living is infinitely more expensive. Yes, the UK supply EVERYTHING for children up to 11 and everything but pens and pencils after that. We are allowed to buy any pens as long as they are black or blue. Eleven plus also need scientific calculators, but, the schools have a supply for those that can’t afford. We now live in America and I hate the school supply list with an enormous passion.

  1. Spot on. As a teacher for 20 years, it’s all true. I’m already waiting on my NEXT paycheck because of all the supplies I bought for my 5th grade son AND my classroom! Lol. Thank you so much for your well-written words and thoughtfulness. People need to understand the realities of teaching! 🙂

    1. I too spend big bucks for my classroom. I went from second grade to an empty kinder room four years ago. The writing table alone was over $500 from Lakeshore. For that year alone just to get the room to a warm and inviting environment for learning was easily in excess of $1000. This year I am going to teach art at two campuses. One campus is an established art room. That makes me happy. The other campus…not so much. It is really sad. I do not remember seeing one pack of construction paper or scissors. I have a budget of $500 for over 350 students for the year. That is $1.42 for each child for the year for art projects…. Creativity will be the key to be successful. That doesn’t even count for normal classroom needs like tissue, classroom equipment which I have already invested in a Mimio, technology for the classroom which has exceeded my classroom budget!
      It takes money to teach and there isn’t enough to cover the basics.

      1. Our music and art teacher finally asked parents to donate $25 to the art and music fund. They use that money to buy things like more clay for art and rhythm instruments for music.

        1. Well, good for them. As a music teacher, I’ve been discouraged for many years by certain staff members from asking parent to buy staff paper. Like, I’m gonna try to tell them WHAT they need for their classrooms??? We are not only the first to be cut from the budget, but are also expected to ask for nothing — in order to keep costs down for parents. I don’t stand for it. If the legislature won’t fund our schools and the administration doesn’t equitably distribute it to the instructors, parents will be asked to buy things. All we ever needed when I was a student in the 60’s was pencils and paper. Our parents did not buy copy paper, markers etc. It is a sad commentary on our lack of concern for education when the tax dollars do not supply our schools(or the funds are mismanaged) to the point where parents are stocking the office supply shelves!!!

  2. Thank you! This brought tears to my eyes. As a young teacher my school purchases, personal necessities, student loans, and rent, stretch my budget to the max each month. I don’t necessarily ask for someone to change that–but acknowledgement is nice.

    1. One of my kids has a brand new teacher this year. She’s so sweet and enthusiastic and I’m excited for my son to learn from her. Rather than giving lists of supplies the teacher provided a list of stores she gets supplies from and asked for gift cards to the stores since storage is limited (makes shopping SO much easier). After attending the meet and greet and seeing her very cutely done, but sparse, room she’s getting another gift card from us.
      That being said, we have FIVE kids in school (one newborn at home). Their supply lists required a spreadsheet, Amazon bulk purchase, trips to several different stores, and just over $800 for just supplies not any clothes, backpacks, lunch boxes, etc included. We wear hand me downs, my purse is stapled together, my phone is OLD, our cars are old, we’ve been on exactly ONE family vacation, and my grocery lists are made up of what’s on sale and I have a coupon for, so it is a little tricky for some of us to come up with several hundred dollars each year. We buy bulk whenever we can and things in Costco sizes so it will last the teachers longer into the year. Good thing I love the school and teachers we picked for our kids. If we didn’t have school choice (open enrollment parents can apply for to any school) here and I had to spend that kind of money for the “home” school (boundaries we live within) I’d be hopping mad because that school stinks. It’s a tricky situation for people raising several children.

      1. But you chose to have six children. Did you not understand children require things and things are expensive when you made those decisions? I’m single, no children, by choice. I am happy to pay taxes for public schools. I’m happy to donate supplies to schools and to foster children. Every child deserves a quality education and to know they are valued. I am beyond sick and tired of hearing the whining about how people who choose not to have their children attend the public schools I help provide, should get a tax break for private schools or homeschooling. I’m tired of hearing how my taxes should be raised so other people’s children should have a third color football uniform, access to the photography club, and the after school club. You get to choose to have children but once you make that decision, you also get to live with the budget constraints that come as a result of it just as I live with the issues that come as a result of me not having children. We all have to live with at least some consequences for our choices.

        1. Wow. So, you intend to limit the number of kids someone has? I thought this was a country that realized the importance of community and family and learning and intelligence and forwarding the entire community if that means giving up some things. Not communism. Not socialism. Awareness that we are in a free country and we pay taxes to keep it an economically, socially, and military powerhouse. To do that, we educate the people. An educated people are stronger on all of those aspects. That was realized in the 1700’s. Apparently, we sometimes forget. So, yes, you have to pay as a part of this great society. And pay you will, or you can go to a different country and live there with your money in a vault in your house. Good luck. And take a course in economics and taxing and how it works here. That would make it better for all of us.

        2. “Consequences for our choices”

          They are children, not punishments for her actions! All she said is that large chunks of money can be a strain, but they manage.
          Ugh..get over yourself brodie, people with your mentality make me sick and I am truly thankful that you do not have kids!

          Good day 😉

          1. Mom_of6,Too, I hope you were not responding to Stevie or Raymond. Neither deserves to be called a jerk.

        3. Brodie, you start to make a point but, since you don’t have children of your own, you clearly don’t know that it is the parents who pay for football uniforms and all club fees. I’m sure you are grateful, as am I, for those folks who felt your education was important enough to pay their taxes, even though you weren’t their responsibility. Before you go getting all self-righteous, don’t forget that you have benefited from others’ contributions to our society, too.

        4. I have to say that you are being a complete douche. Choice of education for parents and children should not be an issue, but it is. Just because you don’t want six children does not give you any right to criticize someone else’s choices. Obviously, you know nothing about public schools. If you did, you would see how many of them are horribly funded, understaffed or with poor excuses for teachers, and with teachers who are maxed in terms of money, supplies, and students. Whether someone chooses homeschool, private school, or public school, it should NOT matter in the slightest.

          You are literally attacking someone for their life choice when you made it clear that you do not have children, are single, and by choice. That says to me you have NO room to speak about a subject you have NO experience in. Thanks!

        5. Pent up frustrations much?

          You have no right to pass judgement on her. Ironic, I know, as I’m passing judgement on you right now. I’m not sure if you and I read the same comment but I’m pretty sure half her post was about their sacrifices (you call them consequences.) Maybe you missed that up on your single-guy high horse. You’re lecturing her on living with a budget when she’s trying to buy school supplies in bulk. But it’s good to see you are happy to contribute to local education as long as it doesn’t include after school programs or the arts.

          You are the one whining about tax credits. She never mentioned it. I’m married with 4 young kids. It’s ok, I fully thought through and accepted the costs involved. No tax credits for charter here. We live here for the schools. I gladly pay my local taxes and sacrifice vacations because I believe in my district. If I didn’t believe in the system I would look for alternatives just like this mother. Not all places are this fortunate and that probably doesn’t mean squat to you because you don’t deal with schools on a daily basis.

          If you are mad about a third football uniform then tell your district, don’t take it out on her. Telling her to settle for a sub-standard education system because she chose to have a family is just plain ignorant.

        6. Brodie, I think you misunderstood the comments from Big Mama. She is not complaining about having 6 children or even having to buy them supplies, what she is saying is that with a large family and a tight budget it is tricky to come up with the money that is needed for all the supplies that schools want your children to have. She is also did not say that she homeschool’s or that her children attend a private school but her children attend a school in another bordering district per open enrollment due to school in her hometown. Having a family is a blessing not a curse and we know what we were doing every time we choose to bring another life into this world. She is stating that her child’s teacher asked for gift cards instead of each child bringing supplies, so that they teacher can get the supplies on a as needed basis.

        7. While I feel the same way you do about the same tax dollars that are used for public schools also go to private schools, and don’t completely agree with the views of the original post, I don’t think anywhere she said that her children attend a private school or are homeschooled. Her mentioning of a “home” school is further explained, saying that her children don’t attent the school they are supposed to attend if there was no open enrollment. She merely has a legitimate complaint about the cost of school supplies for five kids. Just because our society is moving away from having more children doesn’t mean that the people who do and express their concerns/hardships/etc. are invalid. No defamation of public schools or otherwise disrespectful statements were made…only that she didn’t like the “home” school her children would attend if it weren’t under different circumstances.
          On a side note, if there are other families in that area that feel the same way about that school, why not put your children in that school and get involved to make sure it doesn’t fail?? It’s easy to move your child, but what’s more constructive for the community you live in is to make sure that everyone gets the education they need and deserve. It helps the immediate neighborhood/community, and it helps them become more productive and want to give back to the community you’re all a part of.

        8. Yes. But why should we settle for under performing schools? I pay property taxes and my children attend private schools. Yes, that is my choice and I’m willing to make the sacrifices, but I feel I should be able to use the portion of my property taxes that are geared toward public education and put it towards my children’s private education.

        9. Teachers chose their proffession so why complain about having to buy what you know your employer will not provide? Your statement is ignorant.

        10. If I’m not mistaken, Big Mama is saying that she still buys all the necessary supplies because she knows it’s important for her children’s education. She chooses to spend her limited supply of money on her children’s future rather than on name-brand products. She’s showing how people CAN do it if they plan wisely.

        11. It didn’t seem like whining to me. It just seemed like she stated how they had to budget and shop smartly. Whining would be those people who would put it off on the schools, teachers and taxpayers to pay for their supplies! She even said that she would be giving the teacher another gift card. You said you were HAPPY to pay taxes and HAPPY to donate…are you really happy?

        12. How rude and completely belligerent of you. I am sure she had six children for the fun of it and had no idea that “children require things and things are expensive” – that is sarcasm, in case you did not catch it. As both a mother and a public school teacher who sends her children to a private school, I find that your presumptuous comment left me in a state of shock. It made me wonder if you are genuinely mean or simply ignorant? However, I know it is wrong to make presumptions about a person I have not met… but as you have already done that, I will presume that since you are single and childless by choice then you have no basis for such accusations. In the future, try to be mindful the rampant ridiculousness of your statements. I am not single or childless, nor do I assume to know why you made those life choices. So, in return, try not to make assumptions about those of us who make ours.

        13. Jeez. The comment section is so disheartening. This one is no exception. Why is it always teachers vs parents? “You chose to have 5 kids”. Wow. Totally rude…

        14. Actually I don’t hear Big Mamma complaining about the costs, or asking for help to meet the costs just pointing out that things are not always black and white (in other words you know nothing about her situation or her life). It’s actually nice to hear that she is doing as much as possible to support the school that are helping provide children with a good education despite her constraints.

        15. Do teachers have to live with the same consequences because they decided to become teachers? Just wondering. Teachers have been whining as you say, for years about money but yet people still choose to become teachers. Instead of complaining about their jobs maybe they should spend more time teaching and trying to find ways to increase their budgets. We have some very creative teachers in our area that do car washes and bake sales to cover costs that their budget will not cover. People like you with no children will never understand the pressures put on parents and really shouldn’t even try to comment. She chose to have 6 children & she is not asking for a hand out. So what exactly is your argument?

        16. Not everyone chooses all six of their children. My oldest, now 9, and youngest, now 16 months, came from my sister who couldn’t care for them. The oldest came 3 years ago, after I already had by four “chosen” children, with the youngest joining our family at a month old. Now yes I agreed to take in her two, and now consider them mine, but it has left us in a financial struggle, especially since covering her funeral costs this last April due to her suicide. And now the 9 year old’s biological father who hadnt seen or talked to her since she was 3 is trying to fight for custody of her which has put even more financial and other strain on us. I wouldnt give either of them up, so please, don’t judge this mother of six until you have walked a mile in my shoes.

        17. That’s a sallow response. Everyone pays taxes. Voting is where your city or state choose who pays what at what costs. I’m tired of hearing people complain about “their taxes”. We are ALL on the same boat! Unless you are on government assistance than your just using all of “our” tax money!

        18. Brodie, I don’t think Big Mama was complaining. I think that she was pointing out that even though she is on a tight budget she still manages to buy all the necessary school supplies for her 5 kids and is happy to do so since she likes the teachers and school her children go to. She never once mentioned how it was unfair that she had to buy all those things because she had multiple children.

        19. Maybe you should slow down in your busy, single, child-free life and re-read the post. She never a complains about not having money or it being too expensive. She talks about how she economizes in order to afford the things her family needs as well as their school supplies.

        20. THANK YOU to the reply above!! If you choose to have 6 kids, DEAL WITH IT! I’m sure they’re a joy and a pain at times, but they are YOUR kids, which comes with a pretty hefty bill!

        21. Nice Brodie, really nice….NOT! Seriously, I didn’t see anything in here complaining that she had to fork out the money to take care of her kids just that she is glad that she can pick which school to send it to and even though she doesn’t have a lot of discretionary funds she doesn’t begrudge it to the teacher. Go bitch somewhere else about having to pay taxes etc.

        22. Brodie, you are an idiot. Re read the comment. The phrase “home” school is in reference to the public school closest to where they live. At no point does she make any reference to home schooling or a plea for a tax break.

        23. She wasn’t complaining (well, maybe editorializing about the “home” school that isn’t a fit for her children) just commenting that even though money is tight, she will be finding the money for another gift card for the teacher….and other people’s children (in addition to her own) who will benefit from that extra gift card. It was in response to the post about the whining parent who was attired in costly accruements (if they were indeed gifts I’d like to get on that list!). Thankfully there are a few well off people who are incredibly generous and don’t say anything but just quietly give.

        24. Apparently, you did not read what she wrote, or you would not have gloated your way into making a fool of yourself. Her children are in public school (many districts now offer schools of choice, which means you can send your child to any public school within the district), and she was expressing that despite how tight their budget is, they still find a way to fulfill their children’s needs, and to even do extra for their children’s teachers, whom they enthusiastically trust to educate their children. She would not have been able to feel this way, if she had to send her children to the school she would have had to (i.e. “home school”) if her district wasn’t open district enrollment. She was expressing that it was worth it for her to go without nicer things to instead invest the money in her children’s future via education and the expenses that come with it.
          Not all people who have tight budgets are whining…just like not all folks that consider themselves to be educated have good comprehension. 😉

        25. I have six children myself give in scho and a 6 mo old at home. You are right I made that decision. Paying taxes for the school is IMO paying back for out own education, and I never minded even before I had kids. Expecting a tax break ON WHAT? Most of us with big families aren’t actually paying taxes anyway we get it all back. So no if we want out kids to go to a different school We schod pay for it. We chose to have those kids. And I don’t grouse about school supplies. Forces uniforms for public school piss me off because I couldn’t always find those second hand like I do 99% of their other things. But the rest? Well I’ll be sending extras this year!

        26. i dont think ur reply was all right things happen in all lives u can have enuff mony for ur 6 kids 2day but loose ur job 2marrow n have not a dime in ur name so 4 ur vew i think its an ass of a comanet ovisly u havent had hardship n if u did then idk but u all shouldent juge on both side look at all things on borthsides i 2 was a teacher at one point in life n spent lots money of my own but i also was that mom with a job loss and found my self at one point asking my self whats more inportant the markers my son needed 4m school or the milk or bread my kids needs 2 eat iv seen both side of this arument n see all sides i just ask u all 2 stop n put the shews on of the other person cuz from where im at some of u are really beeing mean and i ask be on both sides not just one cuz how would u feel if u relly cant do thigns n u feel bad already cuz u cant pervide for ur fam n now u have 100s of people makin u feel worse im a relise person would gob juge or would he help anyway im done now just needed u people 2 think thanks

        27. Yes. Why do people have children and not realize that it’s going to COST to feed, clothe and educate them? Why do they think these things should be paid for by others?

        28. Brodie, what you seem to be forgetting, is that those parents who send their children to a non public school, using vouchers, are also tax payers. Part of that voucher money is simply their own tax money.Also, I readjust a day or two ago, the not all the money a public school receives per student follows them. The school district is keeping part of it. For the first year, I’m taking advantage of the voucher in my state. Of two kids, one just refused to move, or co-operate in any way. The other starts tomorrow. My reasons for the switch? I believe she’ll get a better education in the new school. I KNOW she’ll get and education much more in keeping with my beliefs than she would get in a public school. Also, I don’t expect to have to teach her how to physically put down the bullies she has had to deal with.

        29. Did you respond to the same post I read? Bc it sure doesn’t seem like it. The chip on your shoulder’s showing…

        30. She wasn’t whining about the cost of having 6 kids. Simply stating that she’s happy she has the choice of picking their school and even said she’s happy to spend that money knowing how well it will benefit her family. The only reason their hand me downs, old phones and cars, etc… we’re mentioned was because she was making the point that they don’t have a ton of excess money in case anyone would ever say “of course you don’t mind paying extra, you’re rich”. So stop the attack on this person and maybe actually read the full comment before you reply.

        31. Yes, she did choose to have those kids. And NOTHING she said suggested she thinks you should have to pay for them. The point I got out of her reply is that it’s hard but worth it and she cannot understand why others who CAN afford it complain.

        32. wow, a bit harsh. She said she has no problems buying the school supplies, giving more to the teacher then asked for, and then mentioned how happy she was she had a choice (which comes with extra expense in our area)

          Yes, she chose to have 6 kids, but she sounds like an amazing mom who does what she can to support them all. She doesn’t home school and isn’t trying to get a tax break for it.

          I am a married woman with 1 biological child who is currently trying to adopt a sibling group of foster kids–yes, a choice my husband, son and I all made together and yes, something we have tried our best to budget for, but this year (we still don’t have the kids) I went school shopping for my son and picked up extra supplies because when the kids come to live with us mid school year they will need them, and yes, even being frugal like I am, spending almost $200 was a bit of a shock, so was the 3 hours I spent in the store, in september there is a huge local sale where I buy most all of the clothes and I will probably spend another $200 getting clothes there (if by miracle we know the sizes the kids were I will probably spend more getting them nice clothes) knowing how hard my husband works to earn that money it is a bit of a sour spot things cost so much but as a loving parent you do it because it is needed, and yes, from time to time we complain, but trust me, I would rather have my child(ren) and no money (because we spent it on them) then all the money in the world and be all alone

          just FYI, you can comment back, but I have no intentions of returning to read it so don’t waste your time

        33. I think you missed the point that the person you are responding to is more than happy to get the gift cards plus more even though they have six children and manage on less. Sounds like a great family to me!

        34. While I have no problem buying school supplies for my kids (and i provide any additional supplies when my bugdget allows) your statement is ignorant. “You choose to have 6 kids.” Yes, they did and guess what teachers choose to become teachers. They are not forced in to the profession.

  3. I teach middle school, and completely agree with your post. In my district, tissues are not on the supply list and teachers are not allowed to ask parents for them. 174 students with runny noses at some point in the year…… I don’t really want to know how much I spent on tissues alone, because ultimately, my students needed them.

    1. With this situation I would grab a roll of TP and have that for the kiddos. It works just the same. 🙂

      1. So true or send the child to the restroom during the day and have them tissue from the school’s rr. 🙂

        1. So you would rather have children lose instructional time over a runny nose than acknowledge that tissues are a reasonable classroom essential? Do you folks leave toilet paper rolls sitting on the coffee tables in your homes for occasions when you or a guest might need to dab or blow a nose? And our we to lift this TP from said restroom or just steal it straight out of the custodial closet? Oh. Wait. I know how we could class this up. I could just screw a toilet paper holder to the side of my desk for your children’s convenience. People, please. My parents had to buy my school supplies. My grandparents bought theirs. I buy supplies for my kids AND my students. This whole toilet paper business strikes this educator as a rather shameful response to being asked to put forth a dollar to ensure safety and good hygiene in our children’s classrooms.

          1. I love it!! Sometimes things like this turn into a game of “Not it!”! Common sense and courtesy just seem to lost because no one thinks anything is their responsibility. If your child will benefit from it, why is it an issue?

          2. This is a great reply. My son came home one day and said there was no tissues in his class, it was a rough winter, I sent in two boxes the next day. Teacher never asked and I always worry that I was offending someone. After reading your reply and a few others I won’t ever think twice.

          3. The original comment stated that tissues are not on the list NOR is she allowed to ask parents for them. Over the course of a week, 174 students (absolutely a normal number for a middle school teacher) easily go through a box or two. I started the year with at least 20 boxes most years and typically ran out in February. You seriously think that teacher should be expected to buy 20-30 boxes of Kleenex out of their own money every year? I think that’s shameful.

          4. Chiming in on the TP debate. I am the music teacher and they ALL come through my room. I ask the custodians for the ends of rolls at the end of the day and leave one on the counter beside my sink – yes, I have a sink with a district-supplied soap dispenser. A child who signals the need for a tissue gets the nod from me and takes care of business, washing up if necessary. Sometimes, the pretty, fluffy tissue box is a distraction for the child looking for an excuse to get up/get out of doing an activity. There’s not a teacher reading this who hasn’t seen the slow walk to the box, slow pulling out of the tissue, slow wiping the nose, repeat, slow walk back to the seat. The TP roll on the counter at the back of the room weeds out most of those. Bonus, a child with a truly awful cold gets his/her own small roll of TP to keep and use as needed.

          5. I’m pretty positive the person suggesting toilet paper was telling the teacher having to pay for it out of pocket, bc she’s not allowed to ask the parents or put it on the list, to use toilet paper for the kids… I get that, saves her money out of her pocket and then maybe the kid will tell their parents and when the parents ask the teacher they can then be told why!

          6. Playing Devil’s Advocate. When I went to school we had no supply lists to follow. My parents bought MY supplies, not supplies for the whole classroom or the teacher. Also, I don’t actually recall our classrooms ever having communal Kleenex. As a child with severe allergies, my mother sent me to school with a handkerchief or a pocket of tissues, sometimes I would have to excuse myself to the bathroom to grab toilet tissue. We also didn’t have hand sanitizer. Our teachers didn’t have white boards, we had chalk boards (and the chalk was provided by the school). I do recall the 77/78 school year, when we had endured a horrid blizzard that winter and missed so much school, that our parents were asked to bring in box fans (as we did not have air conditioning and we went to school far into June that year) but those were returned at the end of the school year. Just a thought on perspectives and how people perceive this trend of “communal property” as “free” and “Democratic” when in fact this is a communistic and/or socialistic ethos.

          7. I agree Jeffrey! I don’t have guests in my home use toilet paper, I won’t let my kids at school use it either! I make a LOT less than the teachers in this article and I still buy for my students AND my own daughter. Anything I can do to make my students feel valued in my classroom is my goal. Little things, like having a soft tissue to use might not sound important but when you teach poverty stricken kids like I do, you’d be amazed at how those little things affect them. Ok, I’m done ranting. 🙂

          8. Just wanted to let you know. I went to school from 1958-1970. We did NOT buy school supplies. In grade school, pencils were even provided. Buying school supplies in the Baltimore area did not become a common event until after that. That being said, the teachers did not draw with colored chalk and the paper that was provided for us was not wasted. We wrote on every single line even if the same piece of paper was used for Math and Reading. Kleenex was not provided. We carried our own little packets if we wanted to. The toilet paper was in a roll, but the quality was that of newsprint.

            That being said, the economic times have changed as well as the needs in the classroom. There is no way the Baltimore schools in my time could have provided the materials that are needed for teaching today. Also, it was a time of relative (this is the operative word) governmental fiscal responsibility and, the money raised in taxes, seemed to end up in the place for which the taxes were earmarked.

          9. That is a very ignorant and rude response, at no point did u address the teacher having to buy the tissues for 176 kids…the point of the article. And she’s lucky, I had 300 kids My first semester and my suggestion to her would be maybe to address the PTA or other organizations to get a donation of tissues for her room.
            Finally, teachers often befriend the custodians who are happy to help when able. So STEALING is highly unlikely and an insult to teachers everywhere. I’m appalled with your ignorant remarks and hatefulness towards teachers!

          10. I use a roll of TP for noses. I think tissues are wasteful and ridiculous when TP does the same thing. I don’t have tissues at home or at school (unless donated).

          11. Make a decorative box, cut a slot on the side of the box and keep the TP in the box. As a student needs a tissue have them pull it from the slot. I would rather use this and ask parents to supply something else for the classroom, example, an extra pack of notebook paper. I found kids to waste tissues and if they truly need a tissue the TP works fine!

          12. My parents DID NOT buy mine. Grant you I am 58. But I also did not buy my kids until HS. Before I go on let me say that I too taught school and every year had to buy more and more. Construction paper, art supplies, writing paper even reading books for classroom. That said, My grandkids get a list every year of what they are to get including “last names XX need to bring XX for class use”. Mind you “their” supplies get shared!! I, nor my daughter and her husband let alone the kids, do not want germy hands or kids that put things in their mouths sharing with ours. On that note do you really want our SPD, autistic kid who mouths everything sharing with your kid? Daughter takes the time to lable EVERYTHING that can be labeled. Even so crayons etc get dumped into community bin, folders get names blacked out to share and on and on. If we move, they are military, she demands it back. I know this will sit hard with teachers but there are six kids, 5 are in school, to buy for. How much can parents be divorced to cut into their food budget to provide supplies for school? By they way, Ca Supreme Court ruled that the state is required to provide ALL school supplies for the kids. Not to say they don’t still send home lists but unlike other areas we have been they cannot pressure the family or deny the kid anything that is needed. Spend less on unnecessary stuff and “support staff”, janitors etc and you will have money for the kids. Paying a janitor 25/hour, along with the great — and I mean GREAT as in all famy medical for free while working with 5/copayment, benefits both while working and retired is excessive in my book. My best friend will hate that comment.

          13. I’m not sure what school district you know about, but our janitors do not get paid well nor do they have benefits such as you describe! Ours work long hours and with the recent cuts to their pay, plus understaffing them, work very hard. They also do not have family medical care or with such low copays! I don’t know anyone that has great medical care like that! Especially not in our school district!

          14. If you have your nose SO far up in the air (or anyone for that matter) to scoff at the idea of using toilet tissue to wipe your nose, you honestly do not deserve ANY thought. You use what you have. This mentality that you have to have a box of tissues for guests is kind of disgusting. You come to my house? You are a guest in MY home. I do not owe you ANYTHING! As a child, I took packs of tissues for myself. And I know I am not the person to EVER feel horrible about using toilet tissue to wipe my nose.

            Just wow…some of these comments are beyond outrageous…and teaching our children? WOW!

          15. Some teacher! “And our we to…” should be “are”. Maybe you need to look in the mirror before casting stones.

          16. I agree that yes tissue is a necessity. What I don’t agree with is school supply lists we have. No roseart or this MUST be Crayola or 10 boxes of crayons to be shared. First off you want to know why you have 174 kids with runny noses cause they share everything. I have no problem buying the supplies but one go back to chalk boards as they last longer and easier to keep clean. 2 there is no reason you need 10 boxes of crayons and 48 pencils to be shared. Less sickness if each kid went back to having their own desks and own supplies. Myself growing up never had shared desks and guess what I never got sick. My kids will not supply Clorox disinfecting wipes because being a germaphobes gets you no where but sick. A bathroom and soap and water work great. I do believe however it’s crap that teachers have to spend their own money on supplies though. BUT those taxes we pay for new schools playground equipment and so on should include that. Also the fact that at our elementary there is a supply room stocked full for all the stuff from years prior that I helped purchase that was unopened but I get a paper bag sent home half full with crayons all broken… Seems a little crazy

        2. I completely understand where you are coming from!!!! I teach high school and I had students bring in expo markers, tissues, hand sanitizer and air freshener all for extra credit. Each item had its set amount of extra credit… Tissues boxes were worth 2 pts each and there was a max of 20 points that each student could bring in. Mind u… I teach at an inner city school.

          1. As far as the tp on the coffee table, if its cold and flu season, you will most certainly see it in every room, in the car and in my purse! I cant afford to pay extra for tissue when my husband only makes about 13000 14000 a year! Thats before taxes. And with three kids, money is very tight. Kids that attend my childrens school are low income. Some dont even have enough food at home. (We do however). So asking for extra can make the parents feel like they are not doing their hi ob because they can provide tissues. My parents bought my notebooks, folders, pencils, crayons etc……but asking for extra for the class is in some cases not possible

          2. So… if you can’t afford to bring in the extra markers, you don’t get extra credit? While I am all for sending in extra supplies, I have a problem with extra credit being tied to financial outlay.

          3. I have to disagree with giving extra points for supplies. Why does a student that can afford to bring extra supplies deserve a higher grade than one that can’t? Rewards are a great incentive but it should not be a grade. We have a strict policy against this practice.

          4. So if the family can’t afford the extras their kid not only doesn’t get the credit but also is potentially embarrassed by it? WRONG!!!! Especially when those inner city kids are already at a disadvantage. Shane on you!!!!!

          5. As a teacher Diana, I would rather parents like you and your daughter to NOT even bother bringing in supplies if you are going to label everything and be so selfish and rude about it. You obviously have never taught YOUNG children. Furthermore, to say cut the “support staff” at schools in order to buy supplies is ridiculous. We teachers already CLEAN enough. Pretty soon we will have to drive the bus to pick the kids up, cook breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria, drive them home, and then come back and clean the school PLUS somehow teach 20+ kids on 20 different levels. I have been using COMMUNITY supplies for 18 years and have never had one single parent complain. Perhaps if your teacher had used community supplies back in your day, you might understand the concept of sharing and kindness more.

          6. @ Diana, those “support staff” that you call unnecessary are the ones who are taking care of your SPD Autistic kid and helping him to function in a normal classroom. Support staff is not now or EVER unnecessary!

          7. Christina, before you ASSUME to know my grandsons situation you should get facts straight. Never once did I say support staff is unnecessary HOWEVER he does NOT get any support staff services at school. He attends regular classes and has to earn his grades just like any other child. He is high functioning Autistic who we have had in OT and PT therapy since before kindergarten. He was part of early intervention if you know what that is. Sarcasm totally meant. He gets ABA at home but that’s another story. I specifically referred to the janitorial staff as an example. Never have I said cut teachers, special ed etc. My friend’s husband just retired from the local school district so I do know what is going on since I helped them make the decision. In Cali support staff that work “year round”, less than 30 consecutive days of break, gets full benefits per their contract and get a form of CalPers. I am pissed that someone would come across the way you do. Leave my grandson out of this. I only referred to him as a “do you want his germs on things your child will touch ect” example. I am sure my daughter would have more colorful words for you as would any special needs child.

          8. You guys can stop pretending to be outraged at her giving extra credit to kids who bring in supplies. Good grief. She was NOT selling grades. You people love to complain about everything. I think a few extra credit points are great incentive to have students bring in things THAT THE KIDS THEMSELVES WILL BE USING.
            In our school district there is a “teacher wish list” at local stores. If you want you can grab an extra pack of markers (or whatever is on the wish list) and send them to school. Or not. No one is making you. Most people I know gladly send in a few extra things. It’s going to YOUR OWN CHILDREN’S classrooms. I can’t believe the whiny, selfish, and complaning women that are replying to this entire post.
            And I call b.s. on the people who say “back in their day” they didn’t have to bring in school supplies. I graduated in the late 80s and every year starting in 1st grade I brought in school supplies. I remember going out and buying a cool pencil box, a bunch of pencils, scissors, etc and of course the highly controversial BOX OF TISSUES for the first day of school every year. A box of tissues has always been on the school supply list since the early 80s.

          9. We are not allowed to give extra credit for bringing in supplies. Kids who can afford it can spend money and get an increased grade. Poor students cannot. This is inherently unfair.

          10. I am reading your post, Danielle, and what I am understanding is that you are giving students grades for absolutely no learning, they just happen to have a little bit more money to purchase extra supplies? Give them a thank you card and a piece of candy, not a grade.

          11. It’s only TWENTY points, people! I offered up to 100 points of extra credit total per grading period. You could gain it through supplies (the only supplies I asked for help with was tissues, index cards, and disinfectant spray, store brand only), helping me create a bulletin board, extra questions on a test, coming in early and helping me clean the board or rearranging chairs, filing papers, but the maximum was 100 points. You could “buy” 20 and work for 80 or you could work for all of it and buy none. We have to get creative.

            As far as community supplies, I hate them for the sanitary issues. I also hate them because some people just refuse to buy things. My supply list? Notebook paper as needed, pen, pencil, highlighter of ANY color and a big box of tissues. Any other supplies were simply WANTED by the kids, not needed.

            Most teachers require too much crap from the kids. No elementary school kid needs 4 boxes of 24 count crayons, 3 pairs of scissors, 6 packages of 200 sheet loose leaf paper, 4 packs of markers, coloring pencils, thin line markers, and other excesses. I refuse to ask parents to supply other kids with supplies when every store in town has a stuff the bus with supplies drive. There are seriously TONS of supplies available for free. You just have to ask the school about the organizations that offer the free items. There is no shame In asking for it. But don’t expect the teacher to provide it. She has just as many expenses as you and may make the same amount as you.

        3. FTR: My kids restroom had no papertowels for the majority of the school year when they were in public school. The restrooms didn’t even have soap for several months. The general public has no idea just how underfunded and undersupplied most public schools can be,
          nor the true percentage of their paycheck a teacher spends to compensate.
          I can’t think of even one other profession where this is considered acceptable.
          Not providing supplies for your child is tacitly approving charity from someone else to supply your child (whether it is the teacher or another parent). If that charity is needed then fine but if it’s not needed then neglecting to care for your own child is just wrong on so many levels.

          1. The schools are not under-funded, but the money that the public pays to fund the schools is not being used appropriately nor is it making it to where it belongs which is in the classroom, where most taxpayers believe it’s going. It is a shame that teachers are required to pay for “extras” like tissues out of their own pockets, but erroneously saying “schools are under-funded” does nothing to address the real problem and makes the tax paying citizenry angry when they already feel like they’re paying through the nose with each paycheck or property tax assessment.

        4. send them to the restroom????
          Spoken like someone who doesn’t know what the heck they are talking about. Because a runny nose is not one-&-done. It persists. Which means, in your brilliant idea, that kid is going over and over.
          And because it’s not one runny nose, it’s 5-10. Each period. So that’s 6 periods a day–30-60 kids each day. That’s and average of 7.5 interruptions (every hour) to what I am doing to let them out, 7.5 to let them back in (at my school only teachers answers the doors for security reasons) and 7.5 times someone has to be caught up because of a 3 to 5 minute trip to the bathroom. And in about 4th-9th grade, once kids see that you let them out of class to blow their nose, it’s not 7.5 runny noses, it’s 17.5.

          And that’s why the kleenex is in the classroom, and that’s why we don’t let them go to the john to blow their nose.

      2. I could only imagine the reaction, you walking into the classroom and seeing a roll of toilet paper for the kids to use instead of tissue. Not to mention ridiculous amount they think they need. But you miss the issue…..they need morethan freaking TP!

      3. After years, here is a a trick I learned when you get down to using a roll of tp for tissues. Leave the loose end attached/glued to the roll like it comes. Pull out the cardboard roll from the middle; just dig a little. It will leave a little sticking out from the middle and kids can just tear off a piece when needed. It doesn’t unroll everywhere.

      4. The high school I attended (as well as my 9 siblings), took away TP and paper towel privileges 2 years in a row because of students starting fires in the bathroom trash cans. Students brought their own TP from home and some, very kind, teachers had some in their classrooms for desperate students. The next year, the schools just “ran out” of TP by the end of the year, as well as copy paper, and there weren’t even enough text books for each student. We have a very poorly handled district but it just makes you think about how hard it can be to teach when missing certain necessities.

      5. I have students with health issues that require them to blow their noses (or have me help them) several times every hour. Many of my students live in poverty. A few parents donate a box of tissues and I buy several each year–even our assistant principal bought a few boxes for us last year–and still we run out mid-year. We have a roll of toilet paper, but it doesn’t work well for thick mucous and it hurts the children’s noses. Then they won’t wipe their own noses and fight you if you try to wipe their noses and they have thick yellow goo flowing down under their noses. Still think the toilet paper should work?

      6. My husband complained about my need to purchase tissues as well. so he came up with a great idea and made me a stand alone tp holder for my desk area. Now I just use the brand new roll of tp and have it on a sort of paper towel dispenser. same stuff…on a roll…you do what you gotta do

    2. I had to buy paper towels for my room because in my class, my children, three to five year old, special needs children who were toilet training, exceeded our yearly allotment of paper towels less than half-way through the year. It became so costly, we started cutting them in half, then quarters. No one cared that toilet trainers use the bathroom more and because we assisted, it was two sets of washed hands. The camel’s back was broken when I was told I’d have to supply my own GLOVES as well. That’s on top of all the other regular school supplies and instructional materials I purchased. Then, for class parties, does anyone know who supplies most the food or who pays for those little crafts and gifts children so proudly bring home? Add to that hand sanitizer, soap, tissues, Lysol, and quite often snacks for children whose parents “forgot” or refused and their children were crying watching the others eat snack and you’ve got a broke teacher. I’ve also supplied diapers and wipes when parents would refuse to send them in. I didn’t want to, but what’s the alternative… A child sitting in their own filth waiting for a parent that already doesn’t care enough to supply basic necessities. And, no, I’m not at a daycare. I am a certified teacher, teaching ESE children in a public school.

        1. I teach parents the correct process for IEPS because their teachers and schools are lying to them about it. I make $10,000 a year and I bought all my daughters supplies.

      1. Parents who refuse to supply such necessities should have social services sent out to their house. That is child neglect/abuse.

        1. Not all students live in families where this is a reality. Most people want the absolute best for their children but not all can afford it!

      2. You just described my situation perfectly, detail for detail. I also teach special ed and have had to do the same things you have for my 3-4 year old special needs children. Perhaps I will keep a running total of expenses this year. School starts in 2 weeks and I feel I’m already about $100 in.

        1. I accept the fact that parents have to buy school supplies for their kids, but I don’t understand why the teachers are complaining (I’m sure I’ll get bashed). Can’t it all be used as a write-off on your taxes? I know people who pay anywhere from $400-800 on nursing scrubs, parking passes, nursing shoes, stethoscopes, membership dues to keep their credentials, etc. My husband has to buy supplies like pens, notepad, tissues, etc for his job as well. Lots of people have to pay extra for certain items. It is my understanding that you may be able to write off some of these expenses.
          It’s sad that some people complain because no doubt there are some people who are truly less fortunate than others and simply cannot pay for these items. It’s also sad to think that some parents have to decide between food on their table or school supplies. I’m not saying the teachers should have to supply the items, I’m saying our school systems should have to!

    3. Just curious as to why you cannot ask parents for tissue. That is ridiculous. Whoever made that rule obviously has never been in an early childhood classroom! The the little rascals sneeze all over him/her or cough into their face a few time and see what happens.

      1. I’m not sure what the issue at that particular school is, but I do know that many districts do not allow teachers to ask for supplies or for parents to pay for field trips because a public education is supposed to be free. A former principal told me that it was actually illegal in California to ask parents to pay for a field trip EVEN if you tell the class/parents that you will cover the cost for anyone who can’t afford it. Why? Equity. I understand that there are plenty of people who actually struggle to pay for supplies and field trips and that, yes, our public education system is supposed to be free, but to me, that says that the districts/government need to adequately fund schools.

        1. In 37 years of teaching I’ve taken a roll of toilet paper from the supply closet when I didn’t have tissues. Most of the time kids don’t like using it so someone would bring a box of tissues. It does the job. The teacher can buy them all year & no one appreciates it.

        2. In our school district, we went for eight years with no field trips at all, K-12, due to school levy failures. Now we have added them back, barely. Each classroom gets $220 dollars a year from the PTA for a field trip. Can’t get too far on that! Some teachers ask the parents to pay for the trip if they can, but cover the cost for those who can’t afford it, out of their own pockets or by seeking donations.

        3. I’m in CA, Los Angeles to be exact. Several years ago we stopped receiving a list of supplies to bring to school for classroom use. Now we only get a list of what the child will need for personal use. But our school still asks for field trip donations (we just had two in May/June), the form clearly states no child will be denied going on the field trip due to not being able to pay.

      2. I asked parents once a week for tissues last year. No one donated.
        It is considered a low income school. At one point, the teacher’s bathroom had no soap for 2 weeks. We didn’t know we were out completely on campus. That means students didn’t have soap until we figured it out. There are 900 students on our campus not washing their hands.

        1. Wow- I never thought about something as simple as soap- my children use to bring care baskets for their teachers every year with extra supplies and now that they graduated, I donate supplies to an elementary school where we live. I buy a lot of supplies because of the sale prices and it is something I have always done. I never thought about soap, tissues, or paper towels- reading these comments, I guess I am going back to the store and getting some to donate. Although I provide a gift card, soap is not that expensive. Thank you for the idea

    4. I had several teachers offer extra credit (like 15 point) if you brought in tissues. We could bring up to 4 I think.

      1. Offering extra credit is very uneducated of the teachers. I’m assuming that they weren’t capable of coming up with another method to get a response. There is a running joke about a parent asking, “How many candles does my child have to sell to pass your class?” Sadly, giving extra credit for having enough money to supply a box of tissues is not an indicator of that child’s understanding of a given subject.

        Earlier someone mentioned that the tissue box is too attractive and children just go to get a tissue because they want to get up and they take their time going and coming. I taught first grade for years. I was not supposed to send out a list of needed supplies, but if parents asked if I needed anything, I was quick to respond. I placed several boxes of tissues around the room and encouraged the children to visit the closest one when needing a tissue. If a student chose a longer route, then quite possibly, that student needed to be up and get a little exercise. I’ve done the same thing when sitting all day at a training. Luckily, I was not going to get into trouble for my stroll to the back of the room or visit to the refreshment table.

        I also asked parents who offered to help, purchase ziplock baggies of all sizes and bandaids.

    5. I love how people were scoffing at the idea of using TP. But I did not see any of those parents say “I buy extra so the kids don’t have to use TP” . In a perfect world teachers would not have to provide anything, all children would behave, and it would rain Skittles. I think we have a better chance of it raining Skittles than parents proving enough supplies to last the school year for THEIR child(ren)! I don’t make that much money and I was a single Mom at one point, but I made sure my child had school supplies and hygiene items. Every penny of my paycheck had to be stretched but I still sent in the “optional” items; tissues, hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes, white board markers (maybe not the Expo brand but what I could afford). Think of it this way…spend an extra $5 per paycheck for these items and avoid missing a day out of work when your child has the flu. Plus your child spends more time at school than home. Why wouldn’t you want your child’s classroom to have everyday items?! Why should the teacher have to buy these item?! He/she didn’t have your kids!

      1. You are very correct. I personally do not have children; however, I have nieces and nephews. I usually try to spend money to help my sisters each year. I was shocked at the “lysol wipes” as it is cheaper to just buy the cleaner and paper towels, but whatever. I even have a stack of stuff to donate to my local elementary school to help…with NO children.

        We have lost sight of working as a community in this country and education has suffered for it!

      2. Tiffany, This is one of the best responses! Thank you for your sense of responsibility and generosity–you remind me of the Bible story of the widow’s mite.

    6. I put it on my class supply list along with a ream of paper. I explained to my students what I need and why we need it. I usually end up with 15 boxes out of 6 classes, but they know when they are gone they are gone. It also teaches that if they don’t really need it, don’t grab a handfull just to throw away. If we run out I offer extra credit for new boxes or I get it from the custodians. It works well.

      1. Asking the custodians for tissue, when the district doesn’t buy any, won’t work! Also, I teach kindergarten, and most don’t understand the concept of when they’re gone, they’re gone. This was the first year i have run out of tissue, and we ran out in March. I sent a request, that if anyone could donate a box, we’d appreciate it, and got a few. The rest of the year, I bought a few boxes and we used toilet paper when we didn’t have any.

    7. I wish I had stock in tissue. Same here- I provide tissues and also notebooks and two pocket folders for every student along with the pencils, erasers, cleaning supplies, novels and Expo markers.I begin the year with a magazine purchase for my middle school classroom that costs over $200. Crazy as it sounds, I have purchased shades for my classroom and a case of copy paper. And some are complaining about 6 markers? Seriously?

    8. Why can’t you ask for them?? It should be on the supply list…. how about the admins come in and let the kids wipe their noses on their shirts………lol. I have to go to costco and buy the jumbo packs of tissue.

    9. While I completely am able to agree with this article, your post is offensive and mKes me hope that you are forced to work into your nineties. You sound like a childish, selfish, pompous ass. Have a nice day.

    10. Years ago I came up with a first quarter project that was done on a square tissue box. I used to give extra credit for tissues being inside, now it’s part of the project. It is a fun way to decorate the room, and you have tissues for the year!

  4. Thank you for this article. I agree with you on your postulation about people who clearly can afford certain niceties and then complain about their CHOOSING not to afford something else. [especially over something “petty” yet necessary]. I am a former middle school teacher and agree that even the “start up” costs for getting a classroom going are horrendous! However, as a taxpayer, it brings some irritation to think that there is some gross mis-allocation of funds when I spend thousands of thousands of dollars in taxes and yet the school feels the need to pass on these type of costs to the parents. Really, school? You can’t buy your teacher markers??? In Texas, taxes are generally 3% of your home value (with about 1.1% of that going to schools). And that’s for everybody… regardless of you have kids in school or not. So case in point, my in-laws paid roughly $10,000 in taxes annually on their last house before retirement and didn’t see a penny on their return with zero children in the school system. It seems that someone who can plan a simple household budget should take over for the school systems when year after year they raise taxes, add more bond proposals, etc., and yet can provide for the basic needs of their teachers (i.e. school supplies to do their job).

    1. I could not agree more! I am a teacher and a mother of three and I refuse to buy cleaning supplies and excessive dry erase markers that are on my kid’s lists this year. That is what taxes are for.

        1. The answer to this and almost every other problem in this country is our political system. School board members to the president need to be held accountable for their actions. It is their JOB, they are getting paid, to make sure our system works.

      1. I’m a teacher and no mam.. We do not get any money to buy supplies that’s the responsability of You the parent…Would you rather have your child look around while everybody else is doing work…that’s why we buy the supplies
        so your child has the same opportunity…

      2. They aren’t “excessive”. As a kindergarten teacher, the supplies parents spend “SO” much money on at the beginning of the year, don’t even make it to Christmas. That supply list you’re all complaining about, teachers purchase those items every quarter, if not more frequently. If the expo markers are “too expensive” (same with tissues and erasers, etc.), just go to the dollar store and purchase the same things for a dollar for your children. Your child’s teacher will be there by November replacing everything that has run out from September for all 20-30 of their students.

        One of my classroom jobs is a marker checker who checks the tops after class use, because the expo markers (or the dollar off brand type- that work just as well) in particular are a supply that is constantly having to be replaced. Marker tops get switched or lost and aren’t air tight. And kindergarteners don’t always click the tops all the way down and they ruin the markers by pressing down too hard. Your children’s teachers will be equally happy with the dollar store brand dry erase markers. Just buy what the list requests because the 6 expo markers per student will be gone in no time.

        1. It kills me that this is even up for debate. As the child of 2 public school teachers and now the mother of 2 public school students, we shouldn’t be fighting with each other. Teachers get the ( microscopically) tiny end of the stick in this debate.
          Our kids deserve the best we can give them. Whether it’s the full supply list plus the extras or trying to get them there with a full stomach. We should all do our best! Everyone will benifut.

      3. I would guess that the expo markers are for the students to use. In my school, every classroom has a set of individual whiteboards for students to use for various activities. Teachers’ expo markers are supplied by the school. I really don’t think a teacher would need 150 markers in a year (6 x 25 students).

        1. The problem is that many parents will not buy the supplies so there will definitely not be 150 markers! Unfair, sure. But so is the teacher having to provide supplies for your child. Should the school system provide out of taxes–of course. But they don’t. Who suffers ultimately? The student! So teachers spend a small fortune to make sure your child is not embarrassed by not having the needed supplies. During 16 years of teaching, I have paid for lunch, provided breakfasts, provided coats and shoes, pencils, paper, markers, tissue, crayons, scissors, and the list goes on. I teach because I love children and want them to achieve their best in life. I just wish some parents did the same!

          1. I have paid for many a lunch as well. I have bought shirts for kids. I have gave a student a bike so he could get a job. I know of teachers that have bought a motel room for a kid that was homeless, 19, and trying to graduate. I know of a teacher that bought a kid a suit because he needed it for an interview. Teachers give. I have never complained about the money I spend. I will EXPLAIN about the money I give and wonder why others don’t even give their time. Volunteer at a school! Volunteer to help your kid at home understand the importance of schooling. Write a simple note to a teacher, thanking them! (I keep a file of notes from parents and students. It keeps me positive.) I quit a better paying job 13 years ago to go back to teaching. I have NEVER regretted it. I get more than money from my job. Do you?

          2. I am a teacher and I have already purchased supplies for the students that will show up with nothing. I purchased folders for 1 cent, some for 25 cents, crayola crayons and markers for 50 cents, glue sticks, 4 for 25 cents, scissors for 25 cents. This doesn’t even begin to touch the supplies that I will be buying. Teachers don’t ask parents to provide them with supplies that they will need. The markers, Kleenex, germ-x, those are things for the students to use. The Kleenex and germ-x help prevent illnesses from spreading from one student to another. Purchasing these items is a lot cheaper then taking off a day’s pay from work because your child is sick. I don’t understand how this discussion went south, but I will tell you teachers always spend their money on students. Thank you to the parents who do buy the school supplies for their children and make it a fun experience. I used to purchase for five children so where there is a will there is a way to make do. There are also organizations and charities that will help you with supplies. I am ready for any children who don’t have supplies their first day. Teachers will gladly except your child’s school supplies whenever you can send them. Learning should be fun and children shouldn’t have to worry about their school supplies! P.S. Class credit cannot be given for non academic items.

          3. Raymond you said it brother. We teachers have an innate desire to help children and their families. I too have bought clothes, shoes, food and supplies for needy children. We can play the blame game all day long about why the parents don’t do this or buy that. The bottom line is that the child did not have an option as to who his parents would be and/or what kind of parents they would be. I will never make a child suffer for the sins of his parents! This past Thanksgiving, I sent a turkey home with one of my sweet, precious little boys. It was so heavy he couldn’t even carry it but the smile on his fave was priceless.

        2. We use the markers a lot for math practice. They seem much more willing to work with markers. Some students use 3-4. To me, it saves on paper. I also have students who go through 6 markers because they share them with students who can’t afford new ones. I even ran out last year and had one of my needy students bring me two to finish the year. THAT meant so much to me!

        3. I teach junior high students, and their EXPO markers stay with them in their binders for their use. I buy my EXPO markers with my classroom budget.

      4. My school district will not allow me to purchase cleaning supplies for my classroom. All of my funds must be spent on the children. A three dollar box of cleaning wipes keeps your kids from contracting every other child’s runny nose or flu. Buy the cleaning supplies!

      5. Any you’ll be the first to raise holy hell when you child comes home with dried snot on his face or calling because he can’t see the board because the Expo is dried out and barely writes. You are the object of this article, by the way.

        1. I posted this as a comment to one of the posters but this didn’t post under that comment sorry. Also it should read “and you’ll be”. I hate auto correct.

      6. It’s not my responsibility as a teacher to buy your kid a winter coat either, but if he needs it, I do,

      7. Or, as a parent who is using more than your share of the tax outlay by sending your kids to public school, you can suck it up and spend $15 on school supplies for the year without complaining. Schools barely have enough money to pay the teachers, never mind adding on supplies. I’m embarrassed at the stinginess in this thread. Tissues cost next to nothing. If you truly can’t afford them, that’s one thing, but all of this griping over supplies to keep your own child clean and healthy is absurd.

        1. Went shopping for school supplies for 3 kids, the other 2 didn’t have lists available, and spent WAY more than your “$15”. Telling us to “suck it up” is both insulting to us and to whatever achool educated you. Couldn’t you find a more grammatically correct term? Didn’t get much out of you education did you? With that attitude I sure hope none of my grandkids have you as a teacher.

        2. try $170 for three first graders. It’s tough but this article did open my eyes to the struggle of the teachers also. We give when we can but sometimes it’s a big struggle to make ends meet.

        1. for those of you complaining about buying extra supplies, write your legislature and complain to them about where your tax money goes. Making the teacher pay extra out of pocket doesn’t do anything but make him/her poorer. Love the way some of these people feel about a teacher. Go ahead, be bold, and spend a day in her shoes. You might just change your mind after all. Remember you can’t spank , yell or cuss and the naught, disrespectful, children.

          1. In my old district this is the list for one child (DALLAS SUBURB)

            72 Number 2 wooden pencils (no mechanical, recycled or plastic coated pencils please)
            2 Red checking pens (ball point)
            6 Box of Crayola Crayons (24 ct.)
            4 Dry Erase Markers
            3 Package Crayola Washable Markers (8 ct.)
            6 Large Glue Sticks
            1 5″ Sharp Fiskar Scissors
            1 Ruler (inches and centimeters)
            2 Pkg. 3×5 Index Cards (lined)
            1 12×18 Manila paper (50 ct.)
            2 Pkgs. wide ruled notebook paper (200 count)
            1 1 1/2″ View thru vinyl binder (3 rings – 1″ is acceptable but please no 2″)
            10 Vinyl or plastic top load page protectors to be used inside the Eagle Notebook
            7 Pocket folders with brads – Any Color
            3 Composition notebooks (reading, math, science)
            1 Pkg. plastic dividers, 5 pages with 10 pockets
            5 Pkg. (1 ream = 500 sheets = 1 pack) White Copy Paper
            1 9 X 12 Dry Erase White Board
            3 Boxes Kleenex Tissues (150 ct.)
            1 Roll of Paper Towels

            Boys Only
            1 Pkg./Box Baby Wipes (80 ct.)
            1 Box re-sealable plastic quart bags (25 ct.)

            Girls Only
            1 Box re-sealable plastic quart bags (25 ct.)
            1 Box re-sealable plastic gallon bags (20 ct.)
            $7.00 Eagle Student Agenda/Planner
            *$3.00 Donation to the headphone fund
            *This fund will cover headphones purchased in bulk that are

            1500 sheets of paper PER CHILD. 15 dollars – are you serious? it’s 10 dollars in cash alone. Plus another 70 for the rest of it, not including any clothing or back packs. This is a third grade list. If my third grader is so careless that they are going through a box of crayons every six weeks then I want to know about it so we can have words and they don’t deserve new ones. They can just use ones from the broken pieces box every teacher has. I have also yet to get back a single pair of scissors at the end of the year. Where are all of those going?

            In contrast where I live now (RURAL ARKANSAS)

            1 package of cap erasers
            1 plastic pencil box
            1 box of 24 count crayons
            4 large glue sticks
            1 package of 2 large pink erasers
            1 pkg. of 24 count Ticonderoga pencils
            4 wide-rule comp. notebooks (not spiral)
            1 package of notebook paper
            2 Yellow highlighters

            And this is a poor area where plenty of kids probably have trouble getting everything on this small list that is much closer to the 15 dollars you spoke of. If one school can get by with so little yet another requires so much there is a problem somewhere.

      8. Really? So you will pay for 2 out of 3 kids but not what is on your other “kid’s lists”. And you expect all the rest of us (including many more-likely low-to-moderate-income renters whose rising rent must cover the dwelling’s property tax bill which is not eligible for any homestead reduction) to pick up the tab for your snotty kid’s tissues, etc.? Sure. Let’s just keep raising the tax rate for your kid’s consumables. No problem.

        1. You have horrendous reading comprehension. She didn’t have lists for her other children so she has yet to purchase their supplies. Genius.

      9. Wow. How mature. I just hope you realize that the other parents think you are cheap and selfish. And, not surprisingly, you kept having kids even though you clearly can’t afford them.

      10. You need to be sure to tell the school administration and school board and maybe the state legislators that you refuse to buy certain supplies. They are the people who have some power over how tax money is allocated and what it can be used for. Telling people reading these responses does no good whatsoever.
        I’m curious though—who buys cleaning supplies and dry erase markers for your classroom?

    2. As a Texas teacher I suggest you write to your legislator about how schools are funded with YOUR taxes. Unless your school is located in an area with a lot of businesses or very high property values, schools are struggling to pay for facility maintenance and other ‘non-educational’ necessities. If cleaning supplies are requested it is probably because the teacher is taking on the day to day cleaning of his/her room to help an understaffed janitorial department.
      As far as return on tax investment I beg to differ. You can pay to educate via taxes or you can pay to support them on welfare programs because they don’t have enough education to hold a job.
      I would like to point out too that my school can provide EXPO markers for me. However, I have my students use EXPO markers themselves for reason such as it saves paper and they engage more than with paper/ pencil exercises. So if the kids are using the markers I don’t see why it should be upsetting to have them as a school supply just like pencils and glue.

    3. Yes, as a teacher I wonder the same thing about funds and budgets. I know the state population is hit with way too high of property taxes and yet our districts are getting huge budget cuts that get passed on to the classroom teachers via resources, benefits, etc.

    4. Your in-laws may not have kids in school, but they do drive on the roads, and enjoy a safe community fue to law enforcement and safety personnel, so I think they are getting something from their taxes too.

    5. I am a teacher in Texas, teach at a low income school and somehow we are given the materials needed to teach. Expo markers, copy paper, construction paper and so on! I had to purchase my children’s supplies and it asks us to purchase copy paper and construction paper! We pay $10,000 in school taxes! I agree that teachers do spend their own money for their classroom, I do! However, Expo markers, copy machine paper and construction paper? Really? These can’t be provided? I believe the supply list are just ridiculous! They even state the brand name they prefer! I get store brand zip lock bags? That’s another supply I question? I will help with hand sanitizer and Cloroz wipes. I get it, but there has to be a point where the school is responsible for some of these classroom items! And this is coming from a teacher!

      1. I totally agree with you, Ashley. If you’re teaching in a suburb full of wealthy families, then I could see how as a teacher you would cringe at families complaining. I’d like to hear you opinion of the matter after you have been to a title one school and have students who are homeless or are living in a shack- literally. My first concern with these kids, is that any extra money they have go towards their well-being and not towards expo-markers. As a teacher, you must be creative in what you use to teach… It doesn’t have to be expo markers.

        1. We aren’t even allowed to ask students to purchase particular items. I keep a bin of notebook paper and container of pencils available all of the time…and wait…my department purchases these items. Other items purchased for the kids: Kleenex, Composition notebooks, pens, markers, scissors…the list goes on and on! I CAN afford to purchase the items for my children and I purchase most items; however, there are some things I feel are not my responsibility or the teachers: copy paper and construction paper! These things should be purchased by the school district. I will supply markers, crayons, notebooks, paper, ruler, etc. What kills me is when I’ve done this and at the end of the school year my child has used five pages of a specific comp. book I had to drive three places to get? I’m sorry, I don’t mean to belittle or upset teachers who sacrifice their own money! I simply think there is no reason why they should! I do know what it’s like to spend money of my own for my classroom, and I am lucky to teach in a school where I don’t have to worry about the essentials. Let’s talk about my low income kids…many of them are working and buying their own supplies. We, as teachers, are not allowed to ask for students to bring too many supplies. I have rambled on and I apologize, I just feel sorry for teachers who feel responsible for purchasing items the school should be purchasing. I hope this makes sense!

          1. Wow Ashley. If you pay $10,000 in school taxes you must live in a big enough house to afford a few school supplies as school taxes are usually collected as part of your property taxes. Are you sure that’s not your entire tax bill and not just your school taxes? Taxes in Texas for the average person wouldn’t be that high.

          2. Do you genuinely not understand that your situation and experience is not the average scenario? Count your blessings instead of being so obtuse that you cannot recognize that the rest of us do not have the luxuries you are describing in your own classroom. I’m a teacher too and I get absolutely none of what you’re describing!

      2. I get 6 reams of paper per semester. That’s only 3000 sheets of paper. Divide that by 120 student. That’s 25 sheets of paper for each student. My tests are 2 to 3, sometimes, 4 pages each. I’m required to give 6 per six weeks. I have already spent $200 to $300 and school has not started yet. In addition to papers for the students, we also have to print our lesson plans,grade books each six weeks, and progress reports. There’s no extra pepper for that and I have to buy my own ink for the printer in my room. Our district gives us $100 but we can’t use it for ink. And that’s really reimbursed to use but they won’t reimburse us for the taxes we pay on that.

      3. Title 1 schools often have technology and supply budgets that other schools do not have. The schools in areas with more support from property tax would also have enough money in the budget for the things you listed. However, if you teach in a school like I have where the majority of the area is state owned land, budgets would be smaller because of less support through taxes, yet they do not qualify for Title 1. I’ve also worked in two separate Title 1 districts. The first had ample budgets for supplies and technology and I almost never had to buy supplies. The second decided to appropriate their funds in a different way, and I was responsible for all supplies, including copy paper, tape, staples, and anything I used in my lessons.

      4. At the school system I work in, not only do we have to buy our own copy paper, we also have to buy our own copies! I just paid $100 for 10,000 copies (which won’t get me through the year). I have 177 students. 10-12 grades. I tell my students what they absolutely must have for my class and then put Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, and yes, even copy paper, on my wish list. Some students bring it, some don’t. I still end up buying more copy paper and copies.

      5. I teach Pre-K and my supply list changes year to year according to what I’m low on and was did not have the school funds to replenish yet. I wanted to comment on teachers asking for certain brand names. When needed, I do ask for Crayola brand markers because the lids to different brands do not fit. I ask for Crayola crayons because the colors are true; it’s difficult to teach the color red when the red crayon a child is using colors pink on the paper! In the past I have asked for Fiskar brand child-safe scissors because my students were having trouble using the cheaper brands; the blades didn’t fit tightly together so the paper would fold or slide instead of being cut. These reasons are just to make the point that the teacher may have a justified reason for asking for a particular brand. Generally we are just trying to do what is best for our students.

      6. My issue has always been that I provide my children with higher end (name brand) supplies so that they last longer, or are what is requested. My children turn them in on the first day and the teacher turns around, labels them, then passes them back out to completely different children. So we get paper folders that won’t last month when I purchased the durable plastics ones. Never again! Not only this but we give Kleenex but when my daughter is sick she is limited to 2 tissues for the period. It’s just unbelieveable to me! I now just buy my kids the travel tissues and sanitizers to keep in their backpacks.

        1. I so agree with you on this! This has happened to me more times than I can count. I always send in everything on the list for my kids and even extra for the office or clinic, etc. But when my child tells me he had to place his supplies in a box so the teacher can redistribute them and he comes home with the crappy stuff, it is infuriating. That’s why I label EVERYTHING now. I don’t mind buying extra but I want my kids to have what I bought for them. Also, when a janitor at the school told me how she loves cleaning up before Christmas break because she can get all of the gifts out of the trash that the teachers threw away? At least donate the stuff or wait until you get home to throw it away! Makes me think long and hard about the gifts I give.

        2. I have no issue with buying whatever school supplies she needs, but I kind of feel the same way you do about community supplies. I spent $6 on a pair of true left handed scissors for my daughter for Kindergarten. Luckily scissors are one of the things on the supply list where she gets to keep her own, but I know not all teachers do it that way, so I’m dreading the thought of eventually having to be the “difficult mom” in order to ensure that she gets to use any lefty-specific supplies I buy.

      7. That would be the school taxes on a $750k house in my city, not including any homestead deduction. I’ll bet you didn’t qualify for that house on your teacher’s salary alone. Maybe if the districts improved teacher pay, teachers could qualify for a home costing just a fraction of that price and be able to pay for some of those kids’ supplies, too. BTW, since you are teaching at a low income school, how much of that $10k school tax is distributed to the district in which you actually teach?

      8. This is what bothers me about school supply lists today – the picky-ness about particular brands, sizes and colors. Growing up, we always bought supplies for school – that was necessary and expected every fall. Sometimes we partly made do with leftovers from the year before, but the lists were always fairly basic – “crayons,” “pencils,” “notebook paper,” etc, and if you ran out during the year, you were responsible for buying or bringing in more for yourself.

        Now, my fourth-grader has a list that SPECIFIES 36 pre-sharpened Dixon Ticonderoga pencils; Crayola brand markers, crayons and colored pencils; Elmer’s glue; Scotch tape; etc. Now, I definitely understand that some brands are better than others (I usually buy Crayola anyway), but, c’mon – why so particular? I went “off-list” on a couple of items and am seriously concerned my kiddo is going to get in trouble. However, *I* cannot afford to be so particular and specific for this year.

        The past couple of years, in a different, generally more low-income district, I could tell that the list was not directed toward supplying my child specifically and then a couple general supplies for the classroom. No, everything went into general bins to be shared equally among all the kids, no matter who brought what. We weren’t even supposed to put a name on our kid’s supplies! That used to be part of the fun of school supply shopping – picking out fun folders, pencils, erasers. Wasn’t any point to doing so there – my kiddo didn’t necessarily get the stuff he brought. This is where I felt like a better system could be in place. Some of these “bulk” supplies would be more economical if they were purchased in bulk – if all the kids need the exact same set of plastic folders, price out a bulk box and have all the parents chip in some, then buy the bulk box.

        1. My grade level team asks for certain brand-name items because many generic items are not good and you end up wasting your money. If, in our experience, a certain brand has a superior product out there we try to share that with parents! For example, many of the generic pencils don’t sharpen evenly or break easily (especially the ones with the colorful plastic wraps on them). The erasers on these pencils also often have some kind of coating so they smear or tear the students’ work. Some companies have focused so much on making glue “washable” that they don’t do the job of sticking! Most of the cheaper scissors are dull which makes it difficult for young children to cut things. (Fiskars are the best.) Some of the crayons are too waxy and make it difficult for children to color evenly and neatly which can frustrate them. So when you see a specific brand name listed give the teacher the benefit of the doubt – s/he is probably just trying to help you put the best tools in your children’s hands so they can concentrate on the important learning instead of being frustrated with the mess their eraser made. At least think about it, and then buy what you can best afford.

    6. In my community (and in most others) tax money goes almost exclusively to building and furnishing new schools or maintaining old ones. And even if it doesn’t fund construction and maintenance, the way that tax money is allocated isn’t necessarily within a district’s control – which is why there’s a need for bond elections (about which many people complain, as well). Textbooks suck up a lot of $$, too. At an average of $50 per book/per subject, it adds up quickly. I usually get $80 a year to spend on my classroom from my campus. In the last two weeks, I’ve spent over $300 in supplies (posters, chart paper, pencils, composition notebooks, etc.) and school hasn’t even started yet – nor have I purchased supplies for my own personal 4 children yet. I’ve been teaching for 17 years, and it’s been this way since year #1 (actually, I spent over $2,000 on my classroom my 1st year of teaching). I don’t mind spending the money, but I do mind when tax payers get up-in-arms about buying school supplies, thinking that their tax money isn’t being well-spent (by the way, I don’t believe YOU – in particular – are “up-in-arms. You’re quite polite). Tax funds are allocated by legislators and those allocations can’t be reassigned without serious legal ramifications.

    7. Isn’t the “return” of paying taxes for schools, regardless of whether the children are your own or not, is having an educated community in the future? Who do you think will be your inlaws’ doctors in 20 years? The kids in school now!

      1. Great answer Kelly. I have no children and gladly pay my school taxes as well as buy the items from whatever fundraiser the neighborhood kids participate in because these kids are the future (and what a lot of people don’t realize is that they’re our Social Security and they probably won’t even get SS themselves). Everyone thinks they know how a teacher should do his/her job but they don’t feel that way about engineers, computer programmers and everyone else. It should mandatory that every parent spend at least several days, all day, in the classroom. I tried subbing for a year and you couldn’t pay me enough to deal with what teachers deal with. The 97 cents the original post mentioned isn’t even the cost of a Starbucks.

    8. To be fair, the benefit to your in – laws is that there aren’t homeless urchins running the streets, that the members of their community aren’t illiterate. It’s a bit myopic to believe the only members of a community who get “a return” in public education are parents with school aged children.

    9. Your in-laws received a return on their investment in the form of a more educated population of people that will continue to lead the country and care for them as they age. That is why everyone pays property taxes, not just those with children in school.
      You in-laws will likely receive treatment from doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lawyers and the like throughout their retirement and right down to their estate being distributed amongst their heirs. Those competent, educated people are the result of the school system that your in-laws dutifully supported. We live in a community and within that community everyone has certain rights and responsibilities. As a community, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that children get a decent education. It doesn’t just help the children, or parents of the children; educating our community provides a benefit to everyone involved.

      I do agree that our tax dollars are being seriously misused. But it’s just not reasonable to believe that only those with children should pay taxes or benefitting from the free public education system.

    10. Thank you! I live in Texas also, worked as support staff for the local ISD for 5 years, and pay plenty in yearly school taxes. If our school budgets would allot more to education, including the fine arts, and less to the almighty football etc. perhaps our teachers would not have to part with their own funds to keep their classroom functional. There will always be parents who won’t and parents who can’t buy school supplies so the districts should step up more.

      1. Yes, “almighty football” indeed. We moved to Texas recently and the obsession with football here is, well, kind of disturbing. I’m not anti-football nor do I understand the details of allocation of funds in school districts, but I’d say any casual observer can tell the priorities are out of whack…especially when you consider the amount (some, not all) football coaches are paid vs. regular teachers.

        I would think there’s at least some money being made via football games but if that’s the case, where does that money go? Back into the sports programs? Why not back to the rest of the teachers and students?

    11. Here is a strange idea…. why don’t we take all the money we pay for people to stay in jail/ prison and give that to schools each year. Then have the prisons get what schools currently get and have them try to earn extra money through Box Tops and Soup Labels. As a teacher, I spend a lot of my own money on my own classroom. Close to $1,000 a year I would say by the time the year is done. I don’t earn that much as I am a parochial school teacher. I make a whole lot less than the public schools around me. We do it for the students and to make sure that they are learning in the safest and most secure environment possible. We want to make them feel welcomed. When they don’t have a certain thing needed for that lesson, let me tell you with Kindergarteners that can be a deal breaker where they break down and just cry and cry for a long time. How are the rest of the kids going to react to that? Yeah, not well. Our government does not put education first, like they want everyone to think they do. To make it right where schools get more money so parents and teachers don’t have to pay out of their own pockets, it will need to come from the tax payers and voters.

      1. Because the state makes money off of every inmate in their state prison. The prison system state and federal is a business for profit.

    12. I am a teacher and homeowner in Texas as well. I teach in a high poverty school, and we have to do the communal supplies because probably 45% bring their supplies. However, I always make it clear that they do not have to share their supplies that it is ok to keep them. As a single parent, I made the decision from the beginning years ago not to buy supplies for the students. I save supplies year to year to have a stockpile and recycle folders, spirals, etc. I make it clear from the beginning that these are the supplies we have for the year and when they’re gone, they’re gone. Same rules apply in my home. If you use it irresponsibly, you suffer the consequences. Students become aware of their use and others who are wasting and teach them to use less. That being said the only thing I’ve ever run out of are PENCILS!!!!! Luckily I’m not a picky teacher, that’s when we bust out the pens 😉 Content is way more important than scratches and messy work.

  5. I would like to believe that most people don’t think about what they’re saying/doing (unfortunately). Thank you for putting it front and center! Now if they’ll just read it 🙂

  6. Thank you! As a classroom teacher and debate coach, I’m always figuring out ways to spend less yet get more for my students and classroom. I rarely think twice about buying supplies for them, so it angers and disappoints me that a parent would think twice about buying her OWN chidren supplies. I have a 3 yr old, who when the time comes, will happily take supplies to his teachers because I understand and WILL get them.

    1. Apart from the fact that teachers should not have to pay out of pocket for supplies, there is the bigger issue here of why do these people feel entitiled to be so blessed and yet not feel the least bit convicted to be a blessing! MJ

  7. You are my hero! Nothing is better than a big pack of expos! 🙂 I spend a fortune out of my pocket, and I have tons of kids whose parents make WAY more than I do! I have many who don’t bring a pencil EVER! Parents please remember to replenish pencils and paper often. The amount on your supply list may get them through the first 6 weeks. This is a suggested starting amount. Paper and pencils are a huge part of my out of pocket budget!

  8. You are a judgemental bitch. I hope you don’t judge your students like you judge people in a store. You don’t deserve to be a teacher.

    1. Clearly you didn’t read the article carefully. The author states she is grateful for teachers because it is a job she cannot do. Also, judgmental does not have an ‘e’ in the middle.

    2. It says she isn’t a teacher………good job reading closely; hopefully (if you are a teacher) you teach kids to read closely and for details better than you do.
      You’re probably the complainer expo lady that this is about.
      I pray your children have teachers that are better than your attitude so they have a chance to succeed, understand others, see where the needs are and be more open minded.

    3. Nancy, you shouldn’t be throwing stones from your glass house. Reading is pivotal to understanding what is being said here and I suggest you attempt to do so before casting aspersions. Bitch

    4. Oh! Then you must have been the lady fussing over school supplies. Watch whom you call bitch. Bitch.

    5. Really? You called this caring teacher a bitch? How do you know if she deserves to be a teacher? That is way over the top.

      1. Wow, some of these comments prove that people may need to review their reading comprehension lessons. I’m sure a teacher would gladly help. 😉

  9. I teach in Ascension Parish, right down the road from EBR, and I cannot tell you thank you enough for this. Its the small things like this that make me love my job – parents that care. This is my 3rd year teaching, and I remember as a first year teacher, straight from college, having to wait until September for my first pay check. With as early as we start, almost a month and a half without supplies is dreadful, but people like you who realize the struggle, help take a little of that stress away so we can focus on the students. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  10. I work in a low income area and kids come in wearing 100 dollar shoes but don’t have markers or a journal. I paid over 450 and that’s only one of at least three trips I make as a teacher to get school supplies.

    1. That is always the worst. The parents that don’t have their priorities in order. Fashion over being properly prepared for school, ugh.

  11. From a special ed teacher… Thank you!! We have a very thankless job and it’s nice to have someone take a stand for us once in a while!! You rock!!

  12. As a teacher I THANK YOU for this! So many people do not realize how much a teacher spends out of their own pockets for their students or as I call them my “kids”!

  13. Thank you so much for this article. The expo markers may not have even been for teacher use. Many schools have individual whiteboards that students use during class for quick responses. Therefore, parents are buying these for student use, not teacher use!

  14. I’m not a teacher, but a firefighter. I’m sure that it’s not just teachers that have to pay out if their pockets to do their jobs. I pay 125.00 a month, 1500.00 a year, to work at my department. That is the minimum and covers my share of food consumed for my 24 hour shifts that I’m not allowed to leave the station for any personal business. That also covers my share of the television, phone, newspaper, etc that is not provided to us by the department. I also buy all of my personal equipment to do my job (knife, flashlight, batteries, personal rope, stethoscope, hand tools, etc). So yea, I have to pay a couple grand a year to do my job taking care of the public.

    1. I always hear complaining about teachers paying for supplies, like they’re the only profession that must come out of pocket for their jobs or something.

      Most professionals pay for their own license renewals and continuing education. Some have to pay for their own liability insurance too. Police officers have to purchase their own sidearms. Even our soldiers have to purchase some of their own gear.

      I agree that it’s frustrating to see people wearing designer clothing and playing with expensive toys complain about buying school supplies for their kids. Their priorities are messed up.

      But please stop beating that tired drum about teachers having to pay for stuff out of their pockets…..because they’re far from the only ones that have to do so….they just seem to be the only ones who complain about it incessantly.

      1. I’ve not seen many teachers complaining about license renewals or continuing education or even something special to make their class more efficient or beautiful. Asking a teacher to buy the daily supplies required to perform the tasks mandated by the state or district (paper, Expo markers, etc.) would be the equivalent to asking a police officer to buy some gas for the cruiser or a soldier to buy his own ammunition.
        The problem here is neither teachers or parents. The problem is that tax money is not being used efficiently at the state and local levels.

        1. I think a police officer being asked to purchase their own sidearm is a direct equivalent. There are more out there too.

          1. Actually that is not the same, because the police officer owns his firearm for as long as he would like. On the other hand, the supplies teachers purchase are mostly consumable.

          2. The sidearm is yours to keep and unless you lose it you won’t have to buy another. And your ammo is given to you by the department. even what you use to practice with. The supplies are for YOUR children to use or be taught with. The initial supplies requested aren’t even enough to last throughout the year. I ask for maybe $15 worth of supplies and a $10 donation. It’s a shame that so many parents complain about spending that, but don’t blink an eye to spend that much or more per month for a smart phone, a video game, to play a sport, etc. I thank the author for writing this!

        2. As a teacher and the wife of a police officer, I have a little knowledge here. Some departments require officers to buy their guns. Some provide them. My husband has quite a few useful gadgets that he has bought himself. All of these are for his personal use. He, even after 20 years of my teaching, is shocked by the amount of money I spend for school. He never complains. Most of what I buy is not for my personal use–I never use 100 composition books or 15 packages of loose leaf paper. The students consume it. I am thankful that some of you realize the ridiculousness of this. How many of you have to bring your own pen to work or buy the ink for your office printer or the paper to print the reports you write? I’m sorry the fireman must pay for his own food at work but my husband and I do too. And sometimes I end up giving mine away to a student who doesn’t have anything to eat. We aren’t whining, and we don’t want parents to whine either. I know school supplies are expensive. I have three children of my own. Think before you spout off about them.

          1. I am also a teacher and a girlfriend (of 6 years) of a police officer and I agree. He is really taken care of, they have their firearm bought for them, along with any supplies, uniforms, ect they need. He also purchases items for his own use that he likes to have. And for the person stating that other jobs have their own things to pay for, don’t forget that teachers also have to pay to renew their license, continue their education, attend professional development, pay union fees, buy books and supplies for their classroom. Supplies that are consumed by the students…not ourselves! And then on top of that buy supplies that we need to use ourselves to teach our students. There is no other profession that can compare to a teacher.

      2. As you stated in your response, adults in other professions are purchasing items for their own use. The difference in your job and my job is that I am also purchasing items for 180 students (6 classes with an average of 30 kids per class) to use as well. It is incredibly frustrating when people like you assume that teachers are complaining about providing their own supplies, when in reality the complaint is that we have somehow become responsible for providing supplies for every child in our class. I can only imagine your “incessant” complaining if you went into work tomorrow and found out that you were now expected the pay for 180 of your fellow firefighters’ batteries, stethoscopes, and other gear out of your own pocket…for an entire year.

      3. No, Dano, it is not the same thing. I was in the Navy for 20 years before I started teaching. I was often required to buy uniform items for my military service. What wasn’t covered by my uniform allowance was on my dime. But it was MY equipment. I never needed to buy things for my fellow sailors so I could do my job. As a teacher, I pay for my own certifications, items for my classroom for my purposes, and professional materials. THEN I pay for materials for the students because I am given $33 dollars as my share of the department budget to cover classroom expenses. If I don’t provide these materials, only the students provide the materials (and don’t lose them or forget them at home) will get the education I am trying to give them. My evaluation is based on learning gains. These things can’t happen without learning happening. Learning can’t happen without some tools even as simple as a pencil. As a parent, as tight as money is, I wouldn’t allow my student to go to school without any supplies but many parents don’t afford me the same courtesy. To do my current job, my students must have writing implements and paper at the very least. If they do not provide it, I have to. My Navy evaluation and performance was never tied to the fact my co-pilot didn’t perform because he didn’t have the right patch on his flight suit. So, it is not the same thing.

      4. Seriously? You do realize most teachers have to pay for their entire master’s degrees on their own? Only a few states require a master’s, however if you ever want to make above $30-$40,000 a year, and if you want to continue learning to be the very best teacher you can be, you’re going to continue taking and paying for classes that cost over $600 each. And, at least where I live now and also in my own town (in another state) firefighters make double what teachers make and their retirement packages are absolutely luxurious compared to that of teachers. You’re comparing apples to oranges here.

      5. Yes, but usually when another profession spends money, it is for their use. We are spending money for things that we hand over to others. I chose to be a teacher. I am not complaining about spending money, I happily give so a student doesn’t go without. We also pay for our own continuing education, teacher organization fees, and teaching certificate renewals.

    2. TJ, Thank you for pointing this out, as I did not know that firemen paid for those items. I appreciate y’all’s willingness to sacrifice financially for the communities you serve, as well as your willingness to face the dangerous situations your job entails. Thank you for your service!

    3. So you have to pay for the food that you eat and the tv that you watch, phone and newspaper that is provided for your personal use? And you have to stay on your job? OMG, Stop! You are breaking my heart. Like I never had to pay for my own business suits to work in my profession? I would have been fired for watching tv, making personal phone calls, reading the paper at work or taking personal time off. Do you really think that the company paid for my meals that I was required to eat out? And, while I have not had to run into burning houses, my work is still taking care of the public. The difference is that, unless you are a volunteer fire fighter, teachers are probably paid significantly less than you, with fewer benefits, and have no business picking up the tab for their kids other than through the goodness of their hearts any more than you should have to pay to reimburse the uninsured victim of a fire,

    4. And you buy the smoke detectors and fire extinguishers for each person you serve, correct? Because that would be the correct comparison to make. Supplies are for the students to use. A teacher paying out of his or her own pocket for those supplies correlates to you buying fire prevention/protection supplies for the general public out of your own pocket. It does not correlate to you chipping in to watch TV (are you renting the TV, by the way? Or do you mean you contribute to the cable bill?) or read a newspaper. I agree the department should probably take care of those items, but that doesn’t mean a teacher should have to pay for supplies for student use.

  15. Thank you so much. As a teacher I spend a lot of my money on my class and then I have to tell my own children we can’t get some things. It is great to be appreciated every once in a while.

  16. It amazes me that people complain about buying school supplies. People blow money endlessly on crap but gripe about buying materials to help educate their children. The amount of money I spend out of pocket on my students is ridiculous, but I do it because I want them to have everything possible to make their learning experience the best it can be.

  17. wow! Thanks! I actually posted something similar to this last week after I bought my 3 personal kids supplies as well as my classroom supplies and the extra supplies for the student who will come with nothing. Thank you for understanding and being supportive!

  18. We can’t do enough to help support our teachers. My children are grown now but my daughter is a teacher with three children in school. I know first hand the money she put in for her students. Give from your heart, both our children and the teacher. It will come back to us all. Thank you teachers for your time and love of a profession we can’t spend enough on!

  19. I fully agree with you on this! I spend way too much on supplies for my classroom. This year I’ve already spent $600 getting things for my classroom. I’m only making $31,000 for the year! That is BEFORE taxes… It’s very depressing to have to purchase what should be supplied either by parents or by the school district.

  20. Thank you for your post! I taught for many years in inner city Detroit. I have purchased everything from winter coats to toilet paper for my classroom. When you go to a hospital, you do get charged a fee for the supplies they use. We were billed $235 in the emergency room for a splint and gauze when my son broke his foot.

  21. Thank you! Oh my. I’m a special needs teacher and I put in for supplies at the beginning of the school year in September. Didn’t get my stuff till May! Yes May! Crazy. I end up paying a lot of money! Especially since we don’t have a set curriculum so I have to try to find ways to teach grade level material to my special needs class. So I had to buy workbooks And more. I not only teach these kids. I sometimes build equipment (I’m a special needs teacher). Buy food so they can see where and how food is made and to learn about etiquette. I can easily spend $25-$50 a month on my class. Events in school. Kids need to pay for stuff like shirts, trips etc., . Some parents have the money and other well are not financially stable and we don’t want the kid to feel left out so my assistant and myself pitch in to buy them the stuff needed.

    Thank you for this!

  22. My daughter is a 5th year NC teacher, she makes $30, 779 (now with that being said, they are giving teachers a 7% across the board this year)…she is a single mom and works a 2nd job on weekends, but she will not let her students do with out….she gets one case of paper per semester for handouts, tests, etc……thank you for your article!

    1. OK I have to jump in here. Teachers in NC are NOT getting an across the board 7% raise!!!!!! That is a complete fabrication from our legislatures. The “raises” are an AVERAGE of 7%. That means some are getting over 18% and some are getting 0.23% depending upon their years in service. The veteran teachers are getting a very small increase–0.23% for giving their hearts and souls to the children of NC for 20+ years. Furthermore, they took our “longevity checks” AWAY from us (we get those after 10 years of service) and then gave them back to us calling it part of our raise. In my book, when you take money from someone to whom it belongs it is called THEFT. The raise I am getting would be almost nothing if not for MY longevity check. Basically, I gave myself a “raise” with MY money. With that being said, we do NOT get everything we need in order to do our jobs. The schools systems do not supply tissue (Kleenex), Clorox wipes, Expo markers, and other necessities. I do ask my parents for copy paper, the items listed above and other things. If I get them great, if not, I make up the difference. NC is pretty much the laughing stock of the nation right now. It sounds like some states (Texas) really take care of their teachers and schools. All of us are not that fortunate. Rather than berate teachers, we should stand as a nation and DEMAND that are children are given a first rate education by excellent teachers who are justly compensated for this amazing job of which we are tasked! Let’s stop fussing over petty issues and look at the big picture.

    2. Actually it is not a across the board raise. Some are getting more than seven and some like in year 29 and 30 are getting .3 percent. I am in year 15 and min is right at 3%. After 6 years with no raise plus an n crease in our insurance, we are thankful for anything but why teachers are up in arms is that it is disparate across the board. The longer you have taught, the less you get.

    3. For Beth, FYI, while your daughter may well get 7% or more, many teachers at the other end of the experience scale will see about a 0.3% (yes less than one percent increase). Be careful not to be fooled by the political posturing when you vote in NC in November.

    4. Unfortunately, it is not an across the board raise. It is an average 7% raise. Teachers with 20+ years experience are only getting a .3% raise!!

  23. THANK YOU for this!!! Starting my 18th year of public school teaching; don;t want to even think about what I’ve spent over the years on classroom supplies!!!

  24. As a teacher I have to say thank you!!! (And the 16 packs have all the really cool colors too!!! Bonus!)

  25. As a teacher who is divorced and living solely on my income (Texas starting salary is a little over $30,000), and who spends on average $500+ out of pocket on my 4th grade class, I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU! Your kindness brought me to tears! We don’t see a lot of parents like you, sadly.

  26. As a teacher and a parent of two (both sides of that buying fence), I personally say thank you to you and those parents out there like you that understand.

  27. Thank you thank you thank you for acknowledging the fact that we spend sooo much money to make our classrooms an inviting place to learn. I spent over $500 last year which was a bit of a personal choice because I wanted to make it easier on my kids to get their text books and a more fun place to learn. If I didn’t spend a dime of my own money, there’d be no bulletin board decorations, no stickers, no prizes, no reward charts, nothing printed in color (we had to buy our own printer cartridges last year and may have to this year) and nobody would want to enter a classroom like that. Thank you for calling attention to this issue and supporting us!

  28. Just for a diff point of view. I’m a single parent, finishing school myself. I have school loans, plus 4 special needs kids on a special diet. I have a very minimal income, and I refuse to get into the welfare system so we squeak by. I do not have the money to get all the 4 kids sneakers, clothes & school supplies without getting it all through the year & asking my in-laws for help. That being said. I find the cheapest deals, get bulk packs, send in that extra glue when I can and yes, offer to help send in or assist with crafty stuff for their teachers. When my kids have colds, you bet I send in tissues & hand sanitizer if I can. I know how hard they work in a highly flawed system. I have home schooled all 4 kids in the past and I know what a tough job it is especially when you can’t get the support from the “system” that you need.

    1. I don’t think teachers expect your family to do without. In my eleven years in the classroom, I’ve purchased for my students from lower income homes without thinking twice. It’s the parents whose children have EVERYTHING under the sun, yet complain about purchasing items for their child’s education, that get under our skin.

    2. Bless your heart! You sound like a parent who is a joy to teachers. Thank you for giving more than you probably can afford and for offering your time to help at school. Best of luck to you as you finish school and to your children.

  29. I am a middle school Special Education teacher and I just added up my back to school supply’s I bought over the course of a month and it was $697. I know I needed to buy it when it was on sale to save money. I had to tell my daughter that I could not buy her new ballet shoes until
    September. Thank you for posting this every teacher appriates a parent like you.

  30. Thanks! I am a Theatre Arts teacher in TX. I routinely spend between $2,000 -$3,000 per year out of my pocket on supplies for my classroom and our school productions. The $400 budget I have at school doesn’t go very far.

    1. In Arkansas we get a $200 deduction each year hardly enough to take care of all the supplies we purchase If you are not willing to pay for the supplies so that YOUR child can receive a good education that is fine because luckily there are some great teachers out there that care enough and will spend there own money to buy your child’s supplies

  31. The parents pay taxes so they shouldn’t have to pay extra. But as you stated most teachers pay out of pocket for some supplies. It’s been that way for 30 plus years. But they didn’t ask families for supplies back then. Don’t go into the profession if you’re not prepared to do that.

    And if your going to bring up taxes you should point out it’s really $388 out of pocket in your example because its a tax deduction. If you aren’t bright enough to know this you shouldn’t be teaching.

    1. Larry,

      I had a very long response typed out and I deleted it because as a teacher who is heading back to school next week, I don’t have time to engage with a man who has his head buried in the sand. Please reevaluate your statements. I hope and pray that the teachers who have been in your life and maybe in your children’s lives have had a better attitude about their profession than you do.


      A teacher who hates spending her own money because she can’t really afford it but does it anyway because it’s the only way to do my job well.

      1. I also remember having supply lists 30 years ago when I was in elementary school (and all the way through high school, then college). I remember my single mother, who struggled to keep us off welfare, pinching pennies to get my school supplies and school clothes. She never complained, however. And I’m grateful for her. She sent a message to me–my education was important. School supplies were a priority.

    2. Actually, Larry….I was in school 30 years ago. We had a supply list. Remember when the Trapper Keeper came out? It was required at my school. It was $10 alone and that was back in 85. That wasn’t all we had to get either. So now as a teacher, my school doesn’t want us to ask for more than $15 per student. I’m ok with that but I do think that means each student should be bringing a pen or pencil to class daily. Many don’t. Do you think I should tie extras to the desk so my $250 deduction is well spent?

      Speaking of that, a deduction only means I don’t have to pay additional tax on that income. You do know to stay current, like most professions, I have to pay for an assortment of professional development and certifications as well. Oh, and property taxes as well….and I still pay for my children’s school supplies because MY property taxes only go so far to cover the expenses of maintaining schools for the children of those who pay taxes and those who don’t, the roads and the government systems on the local level.

      However, perhaps you are right….those of us who aren’t “bright” enough to know the income tax deduction and think $447 (that would be the right number) shouldn’t get into teaching. We should, in fact, just keep to ourselves and let the parents who think we should be paying for their children’s school supplies figure it out.

    3. Larry, You state that the parents pay taxes so they shouldn’t have to pay extra, but how do you know whether the parents actually pay taxes or if, perhaps, they receive earned income credits? Furthermore, why is it acceptable to you that teachers should pay extra when they pay taxes? In any event, $388 is about 1% of a teacher’s pay, so why not allow a 1% tax credit instead of eliminating the limited tax deduction this year? Then the money can come out of the government coffer, as you desire.

    4. Such a rude response! Tell me, who would teach the children if everyone had an attitude like you? I doubt that first-year teachers have been told that classroom supplies won’t be there and that parents will refuse to send supplies for their children. But they keep on teaching, because if you pay attention to what these teachers have been saying, they are teaching because they care about the children. They bring supplies because they want the children to be prepared to learn and to be healthy (thus the need for tissues and hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies).
      Your last comment about teachers not being bright enough to know about tax deductions is so obnoxious that I really don’t know how to respond. All I can say is that I’m thankful I rarely come in contact with such an uncaring, rude person.

  32. From this high school teacher who spends her own money buying school supplies (btw, dry erase markers are still on my list to get before day 1), thank you. I really appreciate knowing that at least some parents out there get that schools aren’t fully funded but we do whatever it takes to educate your kids. Thanks again!

  33. As a Louisiana teacher with 18 years in, who makes less than your EBR teachers, I say “Thank you”. Not because you spent the money on the extra markers (although it’s always nice to get extras like that), but because of the respect that you show teachers in your post. We do spend a lot of our own money to make our classroom the best it can be for our kids. It’s nice to see it’s noticed.

  34. As a teacher starting my 37 th year …I say thank you. I just purchased new binders ,pencils,expo markers,erasers, and paper for my kids. Granted I teach special ed so I only had to buy for 50 but it still helps when parents are supportive

  35. Thank you. THANK YOU. I teach first grade. School hasn’t even started yet and I’ve already spent $300 getting ready for school. And I’m not done yet, nor will I be any time soon. Parents complain about the supplies but they only have to buy for one student per class. I have to buy for 28. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to have parents donate things. Usually not, and I make about $10,000 less than beginning teachers in your area. It adds up very fast! So from teachers everywhere, thank you!

  36. Your in-laws never saw “a penny on their return”?? How about the education of citizens who will grow up to take over the schools, businesses, government, etc.? I never understood people who say they would rather not have their taxes go to supporting the school system because they do not have student(s) in attendance. How incredibly short-sighted!

    John Green said it best: “Let me explain why I like to pay taxes for schools even though I don’t personally have a kid in school: I don’t like living in a country with a bunch of stupid people.”

  37. I teach in South Tucson and with 14 years’ experience and a Master’s degree am still below 40K. That plus we pay the majority of our insurance premiums, about 40% of my takehome pay going to the insurance to cover my family. Absolutely true, I’m telling you.

  38. 1) EVERYONE has to pay for their job; uniforms etc.
    2) They also want you to buy more than needed for those who don’t ‘have none’.
    If teachers don’t like the job or spending money perhaps they need a new job. Don’t get me wrong I greatly appreciate the good teachers (although few) and they should not have to buy supplies but almost everyone else in other professions do. It’s life. And by the way, why do we have to pay more for those who have none? That’s not our job either and we’d be paying for them. And yes perhaps I’m not as sentimental as you but deal with it

    1. As you’ll see from my other reply to the original post, I happily buy the supplies my students need because it helps them be more successful. However, I do have to disagree with your statement that “almost everyone else in other professions” have to buy their own supplies. Going through my list of friends in my head, and the jobs they do, I can’t think of any of them that have to buy their own supplies. But I’m sure, there are jobs that employees do have to buy their own supplies. I can’t argue with that statement. But even if every job required employees to buy their own supplies, I’m pretty sure they don’t have to buy supplies for EVERYONE else they work with.

    2. It is one thing to pay for the requirements for your job–uniforms, special shoes…But really? Most teachers I know LOVE their job and spend their own money to make it better for the kids. I would NEVER expect a worker at McDonald’s go out and buy ketchup for my burger or supply the napkins for the customers.

  39. Thank you for this article.

    I went to undergrad in Louisiana and graduate school in Virginia. Upon finishing school, I had to think long and hard about returning to Louisiana to work in education and thrive as a young adult. Sadly, Louisiana and Mississippi compete to be the Top States in our country.
    They’re the Top States for:
    Lowest Pay for Teachers
    Minimal Taxes Placed Towards Schools
    Lowest Standardized Test Scores
    Lowest Reading Level
    Teen Pregnancy
    Child Hunger
    Child Obesity

    Louisiana often cuts many education budgets. If you have time, research the education cuts made by our current higher elected officials.

    Pair the lower teacher pay (almost $10K below starting level in Texas), the less than $300 a teacher can claim for education costs on their taxes, and the over-crowded classrooms and poverty driven parishes in the state of Louisiana with most states and it is no wonder Louisiana cannot dig itself out from a hole we keep making bigger and deeper. Many of my peers are leaving the state because it is not a place that will allow for growth, repaying student loans, and advancement.

    I miss the people (and food) in Louisiana. Daily. But I can also say going to bed without fearing I won’t make my own bills or come to work stressed about not providing my students with the basic, constitutional education they should receive.

    It is unfair that parents stress about spending extra money (often not having that money to spend) and teachers being expected to make up the difference.

    Everyone is often so aware of how they feel about the American President. What would happen if we paid that much attention to our state votes and actually showed up to do it.

    Louisiana – You can change this. Do you want to?

  40. Thank u for your post! As a teacher and a parent, it angers me that people who CAN afford the supplies refuse to get them! Yes, its unfortunate that the state/school/school board can’t supply some of these things but its the way it is…… We teachers REFUSE to allow our students to go without though! so……we willingly and without hesitation fork up our own money to provide what is needed. So it completely baffles me that we teachers seem to care more about our students’ learning than some parents seem to care about their own child’s learning! As a parent, i make sure my children have what they need, i buy extra supplies that I know the teacher will need throughout the year as well in order to teach my child, and i make sure the teacher knows she can count on me for any other donations needed! (Remember: im a teacher and my husband is a nurse so by no means are we rich….. We just care and we make sacrifices in certain areas so that our kids needs are met first). I know that some parents truly can’t afford the supplies and that is why my children are taught that they should share and i will buy more when they run out. It should not be the sole responsibility of the teacher to provide for those whose parents can not or WILL NOT! Buy that extra expo marker, box of kleenex, jar of playdoh, pack of pencils or glue….. What’s it going to hurt?!

  41. My concern (as a parent buying theses supplies) has always been waste. How many Expo markers do teachers use in a school year? If you figure 25 kids supplying 6 markers each, that equals 150 markers. Do they really use that many? If someone would explain that, I wouldn’t have such a hard time purchasing them.

    1. At the school I teach at, the homeroom teacher is responsible for distributing these supplies to the special or enrichment teachers (music,art,computers…) As a music teacher, I use Expo markers for my kids to write rhythms. I have about 200 kids that come through my door every school day. You do the math!

    2. I am a special education teacher. I would estimate my average class size in the last eleven years has been 12. Even in my small class, we absolutely go through a ton of dry erase markers. They use them on their personal white boards, and we all use them on the big white board.
      And since my classroom is for students in special education, we also use crayons, markers, colored pencils, glue sticks (some students have fine motor difficulties and cannot use the less expensive traditional glue bottles), scissors, and TONS of construction or manilla paper almost daily. We also use plenty of old fashioned paper and pencils.
      I distinctly remember running out of the glue sticks I had purchased AND those sent by parents by mid-year, and my district had no money to buy more. My $100 budget money was long gone by then as well. Guess who bought more glue sticks?

    3. Here are a couple things to consider: 1) I only receive supplies from my first hour class, but I teach roughly 180 student (6 classes of at least 30 kids but sometimes up to 33) a year. 2) I have to share the supplies I’m given with other teachers that have 1st hour as their planning period because otherwise they would get NOTHING. 3) Students are also using those markers.

    4. If you are lucky 1 marker will make it through 2 weeks of school. 36 weeks of school / 2 = 18 markers. Then to differentiate problems or steps or illustrate you need colors such as red, green, blue, and black. So let’s say 4 colors * 18 markers = 72 markers. The cheaper ones often do not make through 2 weeks before drying out.

    5. In my experience, it is mostly the students use them. In the younger grades, they often use expo and white boards rather than paper. Also- students STEAL. Every day. All the time. Caps get misplaced. Some of them fall to the floor and the janitor accidentally sweeps them up, Ink runs out, kids press to hard and the tip breaks, kids don’t put the caps back on properly. You would be amazed at how children treat things. Truly amazed. I purchased 150 pairs of headphones for a computer lab with 22 computers for my campus. One semester later, I have 30 usable pairs left. they were not earbuds, but fairly good quality.

  42. Thank You! I spend every Sunday morning in July and August going from Office Depot to Office Depot getting the deals of the week so I can have classroom supplies and some to give to students who are truly in need!

    1. Yep, and I drag my husband along with me so he can purchase the deals also! I buy supplies for 25 students, so bringing my husband helps get a few more of those folders, notebooks, rulers, etc.

  43. I’m a public school teacher who spends a lot of personal money on classroom supplies. All I can say is, thank you for writing this!!

  44. Idk if anyone said this earlier – too many comments and I wasn’t going to read them all. I want to address the point of the mother w/3 girls… buy the 10 ct, multi-pack of expo markers and split them up between the girls. they can bring 3 each instead of 6, and mom can keep the 1. there, just saved her $8

  45. I really appreciate your article. As a teacher, I happily spend that money because it helps my students be more successful. As a parent, I happily spend that money because it helps my children’s teachers be more successful. And really, isn’t that what we should all want at the end of the day?

  46. Thank you. As a public school teacher, I appreciate your perspective, your support, and your willingness to share this with the world.

  47. Thanks for supporting teachers! As for the Expo markers, my students use them to practice writing spelling words on dry erase boards. This is a lot more fun for students than writing them on a piece of paper. Also they do math problems this way too!

  48. As a parent and a teacher in a Louisiana public school, who spends well over $485, I very very much appreciate this article!! 🙂

  49. I work in a parish where the supplies are provided for Pre-k-5th grade (including book sacks), & my teachers each have an account that money is placed in after fundraisers. They can spend that money on anything in their classrooms. Some of my teachers still spend out of their pocket, (why, I don’t know). Other school systems could simply spend their money on the children instead of paying supervisors and directors huge salaries.
    The only thing that bothers me is that my own children don’t go to school in the parish where I work and I spend a lot on school supplies. The supply list doesn’t change from year to year reflecting what is actually needed and I often see stacks and stacks of construction paper, packs of baby wipes, and tons of other items sitting in the closets at the end of the year. I would just appreciate if the list contained what they will actually need for the upcoming year instead of a carbon copy of years past.

    1. I have seen unused end of year supplies collected and donated to a summer mission trip, made me sad for the parents who scraped to buy those supplies at the beginning of the year.

    2. This! I agree! Two years ago, all the kids in all the classrooms at my son’s school were required to bring in the usual box of 24 Crayola crayons. Now, I don’t know for certain, but apparently either so many came in that the teachers didn’t actually use or someone else donated a ton, but there were multiple events through the year where the school was GIVING AWAY those same boxes of crayons. ?!?!?

      Then last year, my son’s teacher didn’t seem to even know ahead of time what was on the district-wide supply list for third grade – just if it was on the list, we were supposed to bring it in.

  50. I am a teacher and I probably spend around $1000 a school year buying things for my room and my students. I appreciate your article! Thanks!!

  51. That is all true, and kids lose their things. How, I don’t know. After the 1 six weeks, their crayons start disappearing and breaking and they leave the tops of the markers and they dry out. They sharpen the pencils to nothing. It’s fun to do.

  52. Huge Thank you!!! I hear the griping too and I teach Kindergarten! They wonder why we need tissues, baby wipes, and Lysol wipes….if they only knew. And then I feel guilty when I have to stay home sick OR when my own children get sick….please just buy the big ole pack of Expo markers! You are so appreciated for appreciating us as teachers! =)

  53. As a teacher I would like to point out that we don’t only pay for school supplies that parents are complaining about here. I pay for educational materials to help my students learn, I pay for book shelves in my classroom because I want them to be filled with books for the joy of reading. Oh and I also pay for more literature books every year because some get ruined or torn and our curriculum changes so much that I need materials to support it. The district does not provide these “extras” as they call it. To a teacher these are not extras but essential for learning. So if I ask if you can send in a box of tissues or dry erase markers it is not that I wouldn’t do it it’s just that I have spent my budget. The districts are using tax dollars to fund new programs and maintain schools some with very old equipment. Don’t forget office supplies that they pay for also. So you all need to rethink where your taxes are going.!

  54. I am a teacher. This article was refreshing to read! However, the sense of “ahhhhhh, someone understands and appreciates us” was shattered when I started reading the comments.I cannot believe some of the hateful comments some parents and fellow teachers shared. Many TEACHERS said they will not buy certain supplies on their own children’s list such as “cleaning supplies”. Lord, I feel my BP rising. The fact that WE have to clean up after THEIR kids is bad enough but now they want us to foot that bill, too. (NO my school does not supply Clorox Wipes or Lysol spray. If some of these parents would TEACH their children how to sneeze, cough, and use the bathroom PROPERLY then WE would not have to clean up snot, urine, fecal matter and Lord only knows what else AND disinfect our classroom with these cleaning supplies. I have written on my supply list “Please do not feel you need to purchase everything on this list! We have community supplies and your child will not go without.” I completely understand that some parents cannot afford to do so. However, some parents do buy everything and even extras. I will never make any of my students feel embarrassed about who brought what. I don’t keep track of who brought in supplies. I always seem to have enough for all and always have one or two who will replenish when I send out a cry for help. Plus, I spend A LOT of my own money every year but that is a choice I make. School hasn’t even started and I have spent several hundreds of dollars. Once again MY choice. The author of this article really “gets” it. Too bad some people have to be so disrespectful and catty toward teachers about every little thing! That is all.

    1. Terrie you are spot on! I love the sentiment behind this article. I’m always grateful for the parents that send in extra so everyone has what they need. If not I buy it for them…quit complaining about helping teachers!

  55. I’m a 5th grade teacher and my students use Expo markers for doing calculations on their individual white boards and for writing on their desks for group activities (yes, their desks…works great and they love it). Also, Expo markers work great for REMOVING stray Sharpie marks. Either the school or I buy the ones I use.

  56. I visited Cambodia a few years back and was given an education by a charity who’s aim was to reduce the problem of children begging on the streets which is a major problem there. The advice was this: give them nothing and buy nothing from them.

    This is a hard thing to do – cute 4 year olds with broken English coming up to you and asking for “two dollar, help me go school and learn English…”. But the point was clear – they are only begging/street selling because they make money from it (or there parents / guardians do). This particular career has a very early end and no good opportunities after it.

    Is it time for both teachers and parents to stop this charity of the state, rather than spending *more*? Or is the likeliness of that being effective simply unrealistic? (I’m from the UK, where such a system would cause utter outrage, unless it was introduced as a temporary measure to dig us out of a giant recession or somesuch).

    I’m guessing this debate is played out a lot (this is the first time I’ve heard of it).

    1. Now we are talking, Dominic! I taught Kg for 17 years & spent lots of $$ in my classroom, plus worked many many free hours, into the night and on weekends. One day ! The light came on…”woman, what are you doing. Why are you here at 7 pm working in this classroom with three children and a sick husband at home?” I was trying to achieve perfection, which isnt possible. Those 5 year olds didnt care if everything thematically matched or if the bulletin board was cute. They just wanted my attention and the parents wanted them to learn, so thats what I gave them. The teaching profession gets hit in the knees when teachers work free. A GOOD principal should lead the charge and say, “im looking for quality, noy quantity. No more working after hours or taking work home.Teachers, I have your back!” That principal would have her picture on the front of Texas Monthly for finally stepping up to the plate and demanding sincere respect for these professional ,hard working people. In the words of my wise husband, “if this profession consisted of 90% men, not 90% women, this never would have happened. The first time an administrator said, ‘you need to come back to school tonight for the hamburger supper’ the men would have said, ‘time & a half!'” Teachers, this is a well-oiled, age-old sham & the leaders of the pack (higher ups who are paid all year long to work) just love it when they hear ‘we dont teach for the money, we teach because we love children.’. Ka-ching! It must change. Yes we love the kids, but we do work for a paycheck and other professionals do too. Try it this year. Dont spend. Dont work free. You’ll see that you become twice as efficient with your time & money & you will be so proud! Now, go do it.

      1. Absolutely! I could not agree with you (and your husband) more. I buy a few fun items out of pocket for my classroom, but for extra tissues, markers, etc. I don’t hesitate to ask for donations. I work in a low income school, so not all students bring in all of the supplies on the list, but we make it work. I also am not willing to spend extra time outside of work on school stuff, other than setting up my room. Of course I do my job “for the students,” I love teaching and having a positive impact on their lives. BUT, the main reason I work is to support my family, so when it comes to all the extra time or money, I just don’t do it.

      2. Preach on Tanna! You are so right. I hope I live to see the day when we are treated like other professionals. “They” count on the women to sacrifice because that is how we are created. Men would never give in to all this free work and spending. BTW I TRIED to quit working for free last year and I lasted a week. If I don’t stay late or go in early or work on the weekends I get stressed because I can’t get everything done. Since “they” took our assistants away in 1st grade, I actually paid my 23 yr. old daughter to come to my school after she got off from her 3rd shift job to be my assistant. I paid her almost $10 an hour to help me get everything done and to help with the kids. BTW I worked a second job so I could pay her!!!!! I bet no man would ever do that LOL

        1. This man has worked summer jobs and even ran a small deli after school for two years to pay. So there! 🙂

  57. I always buy loads of extra stuff to send along to school. I value my son’s teachers so much — if they ever ask for anything — I try to do that and more. But I do always think — there are a lot of moms like me in our neighborhood. If we all put our money together — couldn’t we get a better price on some of this stuff? Like xerox paper — I buy a couple reams, a bunch of other moms do the same, we pay $4-5 per ream — but if we got 100 moms together — we could get them for more like $3/ream (or less, maybe?) and buy that much more paper for the teachers to use! I wish there was a good way to organize this through PTA, maybe? In any case — I’m glad to do what I do — and I’m always happy to do more, if asked.

    1. I went to bed thinking the same thing. Such a huge waste of people’s time and money. I wonder if school’s could setup a gift list like wedding couples do on various sites. If I were a stationary / school supplies retailer, I’d be setting something up to corner that market!

  58. Thank you for the honest opinion. I am a teacher in an elementary school in Washington Parish and spend quite a bit on supplies for the classroom. Parents fail to remember that when they give birth to a child it is the parental duty to supply the child with their needs and NOT their wants. We do not put things on our supply list that is not necessary. The principals and superintendent screen the supply lists in our parish. We actually have cut down on things such as scissors because I bought a classroom set for my students.

  59. I’m a teacher. Thank you! And also, people should think of the teachers who are also parents who have to buy their children school supplies. They get hit double or triple (sometimes more!) with the out of pocket expenses. Thank you for appreciating us! Btw…I’m an EIGHTH year teacher and now make the starting pay per year for the teachers of your district. That’s neither here not there, but just thought I’d add that. Thanks again! 🙂

  60. May The Lord bless you for helping out your child/children’s teachers. I can tell you as a first year teacher here in Texas, I only made $27,540 last year. It goes up a whopping $50 bucks/month this year. Feel free to verify it at http://www.tea.state.tx.us. The start-up costs for a new teacher are staggering. I spent at least $1000 on start up supplies and I added more to my room this year. This is very shocking to me as I am new to teaching but I am not new to the work scene. I am a 39-year old woman with 3 school-aged children of my own. Coming from the corporate world where I made a really decent living, it is truly insane how little these DEGREED PROFESSIONALS make. I have *always* appreciated our teachers….after all, they teach and care for the best part of me (our children!) for 7 hours/day, 5 days/week. However, I have an even greater personal appreciation for them now that my eyes have been opened. I naively thought that the school districts gave a wee bit of budget to teachers but nope, nada, none…Our teachers give their hearts, their souls, and large portion of their salaries (which takes from their babies at home!) back to our children because they feel called to make a difference in the lives of children. One thing can be certain, you will never hear a teacher say they chose their profession for the money. And, you can take that “to the bank!”

  61. Nicely done. I am also a teacher and married to a teacher. We teach in a high poverty district and EASILY spend $3000 per year on our students. And no I did not mistakenly add an extra zero.

  62. I always buy extra crayons, glue sticks and pencils and send them in so the teacher can replenish the kids supplies as they run down. Something is terribly wrong with people that do not support the person that their child spends a large portion of their time with!

  63. Why is it that parents trend to buy the cheapest pencils for their child ? Pencils are the child’s tool for his work. Students in my class always got so frustrated with cheap pencils that would not sharpen and break constantly. I always bought a big supply of quality pencils for those students.

  64. As a teacher of 26 years, I cannot possibly tell you how much I have spent for my classroom.i appreciate your article and your attitude towards educators. Thank you!

  65. Thanks for understanding and bringing light to the lives of us teachers. Some people don’t get it, won’t ever get, nor do the want to get it. Teachers do so much more than just “teach,” and it behooves me to see parents carrying on this way when we ask for, or need things from them. Not to mention, most of us have kids of our own that we have to buy for as well. Some nerve.

  66. I am a teacher. The two schools I have worked at were very good at budgeting. The only things I paid for out of pocket were extra little things I wanted to buy or my classroom. Both of my principals made a point to let teachers know to check with them before buying. They didn’t want anyone spending their own money if it wasn’t necessary. Kids did bring supplies, but teachers pooled together extras at the end of the year adjusted lists accordingly so that no one was spending unnecessarily. I also worked at another school many years ago, before I was a teacher. I saw obscene amounts of waste and borderline criminal spending in my short time there.

  67. I am a teacher and parent. I’m also fortunate enough to get some donated items. I will always pitch in for my classroom and my child’s teachers. At Christmas, in addition to a personal gift, I fill a bag with class supplies that I buy during several trips to dollar stores or big box retailers. The teachers are always thankful.

  68. In Oklahoma, I have 23 years experience and I don’t make quite that much. My daughter just started and makes almost $11,000 less. In the last week, we together have spent almost $700 on school supplies and don’t have everything we need.

  69. As a father and husband of a teacher, I must give my 2 cents as well. Expendable supplies must be provided by the employer. It is a requirement of any other business in the United States. That is my problem with supplying teachers with supplies that the school should be doing. We have spent much more than the average listed above this year due to her classroom being a total wreck in relation to the paint on the walls peeling off in huge 2’x3′ sheets. This all started when the teachers could not get the supplies they needed from the school or the resources needed to paint their rooms. They done it on their own out of their own pocket. This is wrong! It is against all sorts of labor laws. They do it for the kids. They do it for themselves to have a nice environment to work in. If we keep supplying free labor for painting rooms and free supplies for these schools they will keep accepting them.

    1. Then go to your local school board meetings and insist that they budget the additional money they need to provide the teachers the supplies they need. Most school boards are elected, and you are a constituent. If you don’t like how YOUR school system is spending their money, then do YOUR civic duty and attend the board meetings and make your voice heard. Teachers have almost no control with how boards of education set up their budgets, but citizens do. And if they won’t listen to you? Run for a spot on the board yourself. If you want change to happen, sometimes you need to be the change.

      1. THIS. It’s not right that the children or teachers should suffer because people are trying to make a point to administration.

        I regularly miss the breaks and lunches I am entitled to by law because my special ed classroom is so understaffed. I could endanger the safety of my students to make a point, but I won’t. Perhaps the administration knows this about their teachers and takes advantage of it, but I do communicate my concerns on a regular basis and I do keep close tabs on who seems to put the children and the staff first and who is serving out of self-interest.

    2. You should have “anonymously” had the media show up that day to see the teachers having to paint their own classrooms with money from their own pockets. That may have lit a fire under the school boards ass!!

  70. As an assistant teacher, I appreciate your article. I make WAY less than the teacher and because I work with a male teacher who doesn’t buy supplies, I do! I want to make a difference for these kids! BUT, I pay a ridiculous amount of taxes where I live (do not work in same district). Our school supply list keeps getting longer. I do resent having to purchase paper towels, hand soap, zip lock bags, etc! Maybe…….just maybe we could do with less administration (ie assistant principles for middle schools) and their ridiculous salaries and use that money to provide the “free appropriate education”. We already pay $150 and up per kid in school fees! So I can see it both ways!

    1. As a music educator in a middle school I feel a huge need for the assistant principals in our middle schools. If there weren’t assistant principals at my middle school it would mean that every single discipline problem had to go through the principal or guidance counselor which would definitely leave them unable to do their jobs. Yes administration does not work directly in a classroom with our students everyday but they take care of the students who are in difficult places and help to keep the buildings running along with all of the other staff (custodians, secretaries, bus drivers, nurses etc).

  71. Supplies can be expensive for families. Houston YMCA’s do Operation Backpack to supply children with the supplies needed. If you are in need find your local Y. My husband is an administrator for the district and he volunteered to put supplies together with my 11& 13 year old today. Your article is a great perspective.

  72. I’m parent of four my husband and I never complain about what our children need for school. We figure if it’s on the list the need it. I have friends that complain about the list every year. I just tell them home school them and keep the money in your pocket.

    1. I ask for more because I can replenish supplies as needed. I ask for 4 boxes of crayons so I can give kids a new box every quarter. Most of the time the crayons have been broken or lost after the first month of school. I ask for 4 expo markers because those things dry up. I ask for 8 glue sticks. Those don’t last long at all. If I don’t think about the needs for the entire school year, I end up having to buy most supplies on my own. Parents are less likely to purchase more supplies in the middle of the school year. Last year we ran out of pencils a month before school was out. Letters went home asking for more. ONE child brought a pack of 5 pencils. I had to buy more. We ran out of glue sticks also. No one sent any so the class had to share the few we had left which was about 3. So we ask for those multiple items because we’re thinking about what your child needs for the entire year. It’s not to supply those students who don’t bring anything. We have enough businesses that donate items for those children at the beginning of the year.

  73. Wow, just read a few of the responses and felt my blood pressure rise. A good teacher teaches because they have the ultimate goal in mind-KIDS . However, the country needs to get a grip on how teachers are actually treated (along with other community workers) We are all low paid workers who are dedicated to the job. Children DO NOT choose who their parents are and your saying to cheat them out of something because their PARENTS are the issue.? Doesn’t seem far to me. If you have done any research on how Texas schools are run, you will find that higher priced neighborhoods pay a great amount of taxes, but we don’t get it all because he have the ROBIN HOOD EFFECT going on. We rob Peter to pay Paul and since this happens teachers fill in the blanks. You will also notice that in some of the more affluent districts, the spending per pupil has not gone up much over the last 5-10 years. It’s discouraging to think that we have to ‘FIGHT’ for some of these changes. FOR GOODNESS SAKE, WE ARE TEACHERS THE FUTURE! DOESN’T THIS MEAN ANYTHING TO PEOPLE OUT THERE. GO VOLUNTEER , SEND EXTRA SUPPLIES, AND CHECK OUT YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL-KIDS OR NO KIDS-

  74. I teach at a home school co-op, which is not supported by taxes at all, Our parents supply everything–Expo markers, hand sanitizer, paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, hand soap, glass cleaner, etc., on top of their child’s pencils, paper, folders and such. And they pay tuition to the school on top of the property taxes they pay that fund public schools. Do they complain? No, because they are invested in their child’s education, like all parents should be.

  75. I retired from teaching 3 years ago. During my teaching career I, too, spent a substantial amount of money out of pocket. Fortunately my husband had a good job so I was able to do this. I made sure that no child went without. During my career I had to purchase my own printer, cartridges, cabling, extension cords, computer mice, and supplies for hands on activities to teach applications in mathematics and science. For a short time each teacher was given $100 to buy supplies for the year. I taught 180 students per day in a high school setting, so one activity required enough materials for that many students and we were expected to conduct these type activities and labs several times a week. I had to purchase my own testing materials (blue books and scan torn sheets) and subject specific software to support use of technology in my classroom. My students’ education was important to me and I wanted them to succeed. I purchased calculators for those who didn’t have them and spend time writing grants to purchase other supplies. The state legislatures often mandate certain items in the curriculum but do not often fund these mandates. Only once did I have a parent say, “If you want my son to have that, buy it yourself.” Then watched her get into her new luxury car and drive off. I did buy it because I cared. We know when we enter our profession that we will not become rich monetarily, but for us it is a calling. I treasure the fact that students I taught 40 years ago still contact me and introduce me to their children and grandchildren. My riches are knowing that I made a difference in their lives.

  76. So many complain of so much! I work 2 full time jobs to provide for my 1 child the bare necessities of survival. He may wear nice clothes & go on fancy vacations….clothes are provided by my child himself. He already wrks for those things. Vacations are taken to very nice resorts by his father who wrks 7 days a week the remainder of the year. My child comes from a broken home where both parents are self employeed. Our taxes are 33% minimum of profit with no medical or death or retirement benefits. Before teachers place judgement on parents please keep in mind that many of us have many many many more expenses than you do, (example: hairstylist may busy their butt for $50,000 just to bring home $8-$9,000 a year!!!! Oil field bust it to make $150,000 that cost them $115,000 to make!!!! All of which no benefits or vacations are included!!), do not get a single benefit, pay twice the tax you do and are very lucky to get 3 days a year off in a row. I’m in the middle of moving because my home was foreclosed, I manage 2 jobs, looking for a place to lay our head in a month, pack the existing home, w/school & soccer & drivers ed & orthodontist appts, orthopedic appts, have no savings, no benefits, 1 day off a week, I do the yard work, the house work from paying bills, bal chk bk, cleaning, restocking, cooking, laundry, maintenence on home & car both….this list goes on & on & on & on to even the changing of a light bulb or air filter…even fought cancer that could’ve taken my life if emergency surgery wasn’t performed immediately(w/no ins it was performed cold turkey on a regular chk up table w/the supplies in stock at the time that weren’t even the correct supplies or size for my body w/absolutely no meds including even an aspirin…I had a complete organ removed!) I fought west Nile & was the only survivor of 8 total in the area, bit by a snake early spring in my garden, flat tire on my way this morning to my 6 the straight day of 2 jobs, not to mention the 2 I later to rest that I love or the dog … All just in 1 lil ole 1/2 a year!!! Yet I haven’t complained the first time of all I do or the expense of my job, or just my job in general….nor the cost of school supplies… In my eyes every1 needs a big giant wake up call as to how hard they have it or how bad/expensive their job is nor the cost of their kid or education….life is life! If u don’t like your job find 1 you do, if you don’t like how much things cost move….it’s real simple folks!

  77. Thank you for the article. Also, I reward my students with snacks every Friday for working hard all week. I order books from Scholastic Book Club so that I can give them a book as reward once a month. All of this comes out of my pocket and I do it for the kids. I love what I do–teaching them to listen, speak, read, and write in English.

  78. I appreciate many aspects of this article, yet, I must say, that’s not a parent’s responsibility to pay for this. Our Government should be funding this completely for every school in every state, for Teachers to do their jobs. It used to be this way long ago. Before they began making teachers pay for their own supplies. I’m all in favor of supporting our teachers and the needs for the students, yet I’m not in favor, of people blaming parents for what our government and states should be providing for one of the most valuable people in our nations, and that is their teachers and our children. Our country boasts about education and states that they value this so much, yet they underpay teachers, work them to illness, make them work some days without pay in some states, give them issues about paid leaves of absences and benefits, don’t provide humane care of school buildings and facilities for teachers and students, cutting important programs out all the time, using the excuse that there is no funding for them, and if you even dare ask where the funding is really going, you and your student will become the black sheep of the school, yet they want to make sure that the kids are never absent and do well on pointless state tests so they can make their money, that is still not going to areas of great need or people of great importance such as their Teachers. I could go on and on, my point, if you want to be a judge or really look at where the real issue is, then look at our own Government and the truth about our education systems here. Not the parents. Complaining parents or the parents who’d gladly buy the extra if they can. This may be written from my words, yet I guarantee you I speak for many parents and even teachers, who I’ve been communicating with for 16 yrs plus, who have been trying to make changes, yet have extreme challenges with the poli-tricks. Thank you for your viewpoint and article that has allowed me to express this important topic. Thank you teachers for doing what you love even through so many adversities for our children. Real issues, Raise Love, Awareness, and Shine Light on the truth. Unity creates positive change if we are honest with Love, and stand for the truth and change. Peace.

    1. It takes a village to raise a child. I agree that the U.S. government doesn’t value education as much as it should, but when you have your teacher-blaming camp, your parent-blaming camp and your government-blaming camp, ultimately, the children aren’t being helped. They should be at the core of everything. I have a great deal of gratitude for families who happily donate much-needed supplies, especially those of a lower socioeconomic status. But I do take a great deal of offense when families who have the means to help refuse to do so and then go on to blame teachers for not caring about their kids and having poorly-stocked classrooms.

    2. You are right..the government is stealing our education dollars. They do this by providing private FOR PROFIT schools. They are making money and the public schools are starving for supplies. Public schools are in a real crises. Officials are using poor test scores to justify withholding funds and are opening new charter schools who do no better. They answer to hedge fund managers and not to students. They starve our students of enrichment like PE, art and music, yet their kids go to posh schools that provide that and more.
      No money for student supplies…plenty of money for test supplies

  79. Thank ….for the rational information you put forth….I agree with your point of view whole-heartedly….unless society decides to respect our educators for what they are and not treat them like glorified daycare providers…our children lose…..Thank you to everyone who gets it…and prayers for those who don’t…

  80. I’ve been teaching 11 years. I’m positive that I’ve spent well over $5,000 on school supplies, copy paper, laminate, books, shelves, station materials, pencils, apps and decor. My husband gets mad if I buy desk supplies, such as paper clips, scissors or file folders. He says that @ any other job in the world they have supply closets and provide employees with what they need to do their job.

  81. As a daughter of a teacher who’s mother taught over 20 years I watched her year after year pay out of pocket for school supplies because they could only send home a list of suggested items needed…. it was a title 1 pilot program school so some you know what I’m talking about.However what is rarely talked about is if you hold on to reciepts you can claim them on your taxes and get the bulk of that money back. As a write off for business expense. Maybe under Obama it’s changed but a good tax advisor can always find a way for teachers to get there money back. My son went to DOD schools until HS so I never had to deal with that dreaded list HS wasn’t that bad imo

    1. Dear, as both a current math teacher and a former tax professional, I can tell you that you are wrong when you say that a person is reimbursed the full $250.00 per educator if receipts are retained. The $250.00 is a deduction which means taxable income is reduced by $250.00. Depending on the person’s tax bracket it means they may have saved anywhere from $25 to $75 in taxes. The rules for claiming a business credit are too in depth to cover here. I should note that I taught several of the tax classes to trainees at our firm.

  82. Thank you so much. I am a teacher and spend a fortune just on dry erase markers. (They don’t last as long as chalk did, but they are better for computers.) I was in line a year or so ago behind a woman who didn’t want to buy a dry erase marker for her child’s teacher. I bit my tongue, but wanted to say much of what you did.

  83. There are many jobs where you have to buy supplies. I don’t see the problem, it’s a tax write off. What about nurses? They have to buy scrubs? What about carpenters they have to buy tools? Or painters who buy brushes and other stuff. It’s part of being an adult. I think teachers should stop whinning about it and find another job if it bothers them. Next time they go to a doctor they should offer to pay for the nurses cloths. I don’t care if the woman in the story had 49 million dollars it’s her money to buy what she wants to with . She’s under no obligation to carry the teacher financially.

    1. I’m not asking you to pay for MY clothes or MY supplies. I’m asking you to pay for YOUR CHILD’S supplies. It’s part of being an adult. I think parents should stop whining about it and not have kids if it bother them. And I’m fairly certain when I go to the hospital they bill me for every syringe and aspirin I use. In fact, when my son was 4 and having seizures we went to the emergency room. He vomited in his room and I was billed with a hazardous waste charge. Teachers are under no obligation to carry your children financially.

      1. Hear, hear!! Dry-erase markers, tissues, hand sanitizer and other essentials are readily available at most dollar stores and they’re inexpensive supplies that EVERYONE uses. We’re not asking parents to buy us work shoes or desks here. Where I live, I can only get up to $200 deducted. So far I’ve spent almost $1000 and I’m still trying to pay off student loans. As a first-year teacher, I’m dealing with my pay being the lowest it will ever be and my expenses being the highest they will ever be. If you can afford designer clothing and smartphones, you can afford markers.

      2. Obviously (or maybe not so obviously) this post was written as a direct reply to “lol” which is why I used many of the same phrases as they did.

    2. Tax deduction ended on December 31, 2013. So, before you complain about the teachers’ whining, then get your facts right. That’s part of being an adult too.

    3. Teachers pay for their own clothes and supplies. And she would be taking care of what her own child uses, not the teacher.

      1. A self employed painter or carpenter, sure. An employee of the business isn’t buying paintbrushes out of pocket.

    4. Tissues, clorox wipes, and hand sanatizer for my students are not MY supplies.
      Notebooks, folders, paper and pencils are not MY supplies (do you know that I’ve had years where I have given out over 960 pencils to kids because it is less disruptive to give them a pencil than deal with the do you have a pencil shuffle or not have them work?)
      Copy paper for tests are not MY supplies.
      Heck, I even hand out pads at school because the nurses office is rarely staffed.

      I shouldn’t have to buy 30 pairs of scissors every two years so I can run a science classroom.

      I shouldn’t have to buy 60 rulers every year because the kids break them and the school doesn’t have them.

      I shouldn’t have to buy 200 notebooks to ensure my students will have something to take notes on.

      I shouldn’t have to buy FANS so my classroom will be below 80 degrees in September or May.

      I shouldn’t have to buy a HEATER so my classroom will be above 60 in January and February.

  84. There have been so many back to school sales lately that I’ve stocked up on a lot of extra school supplies to bring with me when I meet my daughters pre-k teacher. I’m not doing this as a suck-up or to win any brownie points. The stuff is seriously cheap right now. My question to y’all is how do I go about bringing it to her teacher? I don’t want to offend anybody. I’m seriously just trying to do something nice because I know a lot of people may not have the school supplies they need (back to school shopping has always been one of my favorite things!).

    1. No worries about offending the teacher! Just give them to him/her and say there were a lot of sales you couldn’t pass up and you thought his/her students could use some of them. (S)he will be grateful and appreciate your thoughtfulness!

    2. Thanks for your generosity! Trust me, your child’s teacher will NOT be offended. Just introduce yourself and your daughter as you would normally and let the teacher know that you have some school supplies you’d like to donate.

  85. Thank you so much for writing this article. It is so nice that someone cares about what teachers are spending out of pocket. Most teachers love their students so they spend what they have to. It’s too bad our government doesn’t care about this situation. My daughter was a new teacher last year and had to spend $ 800.00 on her classroom and is living on her own. It hasn’t been easy. It’s a hard reality for teachers.

  86. As and educator I can not tell you how touched I am by your post. As a parent I stand beside you and reach for the package of 16 markers and throughout the year I ask my own children’s teacher if they are running low on anything. Glue, Expo markers, pencils, Kleenex…. by Christmas these items are used up and we still have 5 months of school left. Middle school and High school teachers work with even less supplied by parents. Those needs are still there (especially Expo markers and Kleenex) but they just don’t ask.

    May you be blessed for your thoughtfulness and I know that there is a teacher out there who is receiving a blessing because of you.

  87. While I don’t think that teachers should pay for any supplies, not all parents spend thousands on our kids purses or 200 on shoes. Some of us are single mothers that have no assistane in the matter. I’m not saying that it should be passed to the teacher. When I go to work and do my job, my company makes sure that I have every single thing I need to help my patients. Our supplies aren’t billed to the patients. We pay school taxes and in our state the lottery was supposed to go to the school system. It appears that it doesn’t.

    As a single mom it also has to be said that we have to purchase way more than just school supplies. Uniforms, shoes, backpacks, etc. I want to repeat THIS COST SHOULD NOT BE PASSED ON TO THE TEACHER. (Not yelling just wanted to make sure that point was clear) it should be provided by the schools that we pay school taxes for and that the lottery revenue that is supposed to go to the schools.

  88. I am a parent with two kids in school and very limited funds. I might have had a few choice words while shopping for school supplies (only because I hate school supply shopping ha) but I still am getting everything on their lists and I am going to get as much of the “nice to have” items that I can. In a perfect world the school/our taxes would cover these things but it just doesn’t. I don’t understand why people can’t just accept the list for what it is and get the stuff on it. The things listed are there because our kids need them. As for the extras, I buy clorox wipes , kleenex, etc to keep my home healthy for my kids so why can’t I do the same for the school?

    To all you teachers, thank you for everything you do for our kids!

  89. As a parent who is just entering the world of public school, I really appreciate this perspective! I bought a few extra things than necessary already but now I feel like i need to go buy more! Yes, it costs money. It’s just a small portion of the expense of raising kids 🙂 and we need to help teachers as much as possible!

  90. I try NOT to spend that much on my classroom. I try to make as much as I can with things I already have such as construction paper, etc. It takes me much longer to do what I need to do, but it’s cheaper! Thank you for this entry! I hope other people think about this too. Not every school supplies their teachers with expo markers, staplers, etc. like mine.

  91. My hubby and I were just talking about giving each of our 3 kids’ teachers gift cards so they can buy extra supplies especially if some kids aren’t able to bring any. I know they spend money out of pocket so why not help cover it.

  92. I, too, am a teacher of 13 years and truly appreciate your article. It is amazing how many patents complain about buying supplies even when they hear teachers spend way more than they do for their kids to learn. My school no longer gives us a budget for supplies so anything parents don’t supply comes out of my pocket.

  93. Thank you, from a teacher. I just spent $50. at the dollar store and school isn’t even started. I love having the things I need to make teaching easier and interesting for my students. I could easily spend $10. a wk. on my classroom for art supplies and things from the grocery store but try to limit it and bring things from home, sometime asking parents to provide. I teach preschool so we do many hands on activities.

  94. Thank you for writing this article. School has not even started here in NC & I have spent a total of $405.38; not on my personal children but classroom supplies for my fourth graders and other needs associated to having to move classrooms this year! I have yet to by a single school supply for my own two daughters or my son; nor have we shopped for their basic clothing needs, shoes, bookbags, etc. Therefore, thanks again for this article…..it helps me remember that there are still good parents out there who care deeply about my profession and expenses it takes to teach their children & many others daily!!!

  95. On behalf of your child’s teacher, thank you.
    Personally, if I request items like Expo markers, they are generally for student use on individual whiteboards.

  96. Thank you! As a teacher I have always spent my own money for supplies and materials. When I began a teacher’s salary was less than $10,000! I am embarrassed to say that all these years later and with a master’s degree my salary is $54,000!

  97. Thank you! I’m on my 4th year of teaching and am currently looking for a second job to help pay the bills. The cost of living is tough but we as teachers want what’s best for our students.

  98. Great post! I bought my daughter’s K teacher a giant pack of expo markers, too! As a teacher, I know how nice they are to have! 🙂

  99. I think one of the most important points that is missed by a lot of the commenters is what values this mother just shared with her daughters. The shirts, purses, & shoes they are wearing are being placed at a much higher value than their education. According to the mother it is okay to spend the money on the in-season expensive purse, but it is just too much to put an extra $6 into their education. Reminds me of a time when I was in Walmart and a little girl wanted a small book in the impulse aisle-$3 max- and the mother scolded her and made her put it up. Before they checked out she had agreed to purchase several junk food items from the same aisle. Sad.

  100. Thank you for this wonderful article that is full of truth. I appreciate that you actually researched as well. I am a teacher and my tax man can confirm that I spend a GREAT deal of money each and every year on my classroom/students. I might even be able to drive a nice car if I didn’t spend a couple thousand a year on teaching and learning – but I want to do the job well and provide a great learning environment, so I continue to do it.

  101. I think schools should just charge a flat fee at the beginning of each school year and at the middle of the year to but school supplies that way teachers have what they need and so does the students. I know of school bought them they would get a discount and they could save their self money and parents as well. Plus I hate the hassle that comes with back to school shopping. I have owned and taught daycare for years and that’s what I do it helps and I get major discounts.

  102. New teacher in my arizona district is 10,000 less than yours – $33 something. My base, after 7 years is 38,000. But i spend money on resources and supplies.

  103. I too am an educator and was dumbfounded with the arrogance in many of the posts. As a teacher, I spend more waking hours with my students than many of their parents and yet the controversy lies in a $6.00 pack of markers. Teachers are made to be the enemy when in fact, the school supply list consists of materials to support your childs learning.

    I am also the parent of 3 elementary school aged children so I realize the cost of sending children back to school is quite expensive. I too pay taxes and I too believe quality education in the United States is a right and necessity. Yet, I am unable to see how the lack of classroom supplies is the fault of a classroom teacher. We blame the teacher for requesting the supplies not given to them from upper administrations and state legislatures. Funding or misallocation of funds has always been controversial in education and yet this is one area that a teacher has absolutely no control over. This argument is best left for those who have control over operations and money allocation. If you feel so strongly against sending your child with necessary supplies, attack those who view your child as a number rather than the person who supports, guides, educates, and loves your child as their own.

    In the end, education is not valued in America. Nothing will change until we as a society stand up and demand quality. The teacher takes the blunt of the frustration and has little power over the laws and policies they are forced to comply with.

    Make a choice, those of you who are able help supply the classroom that will be the second home to your child for the next 176 days or let your child do without simply because your ego is bigger than your common sense!

  104. Thank you for your post! It means a lot to me, as a teacher who without fail spends that amount or more every year to keep the school where I work in running order! Every teacher I know does this.

  105. I am a teacher and a mom of two elementary students. I love back to school supply shopping and because I have the time off and my budget is tight, I love to take advantage of the bargains and stock up for my kids and my classroom for the year. There have been years when I have made 8 trips to Staples to buy 200 notebooks at 5 cents a piece (they limit teachers to 25 at a time).

    My children’s school puts out a supply list for students and it is very specific… down to colors of folders and brands of pencils and markers. (Those expo markers aren’t used by the teacher.. most classrooms have small white boards that kids use at their desk). I buy what they ask for and stock up with extras of everything at home while crayons are 50 cents instead of $3. I also send in everything on the optional list that includes ziplock baggies, tissue, clorox wipes hand sanitizer and the like. Because I know many schools have cut custodial services so that desks are never cleaned unless cleaned by teacher or students.

    I know many families do this but you know who truly gets forgotten? Our special ed teachers, our specials (art, music, library, etc) and student service providers (OT, speech, counselors, etc).

    If you have the time or money, send in some extra tissues and hand sanitizer for them

    1. I am a self contained special ed teacher. I have a small number of students (7 this year). I have a supply list for my class, but trust me…..what’s on my list doesn’t get me through the year at all because of my small number of students. We can request more items from parents, but it’s not a guarantee we’re going to get it. My asst and I usually buy the extra supplies we need later in the year.

  106. Thank you (as I am a teacher)!!! Your article was well stated and I appreciate your understanding. Many blessings to your children this school year.

  107. Thank you for your support of teachers. In my area, starting teachers only make 35,000. It’s not an easy job, but a true teacher is there because it’s a calling and loves teaching the kids.

    Another area that teachers are misunderstood on is our summers. We are required by law to take 150 education hours for every 5 years to keep our certificates. My doctor even stated this was more per year than she is required to have. We have to do these trainings on our own time out of our own finances as well. Most teachers spend time in the summer doing this. We also go back to work weeks before the kids do for district training and most go back even earlier to prepare lessons and get our rooms ready. This is all unpaid as we are not “paid” during the summer. Yes, most districts give their teachers a paycheck during summer months but those funds come from money the district has taken out of our pay throughout the school year in order for us to have that paycheck during June and July. So many people think we get “paid for doing nothing” during this time but are misinformed because that is unpaid time (even though many of us work to prepare for the new year.

    Again, thank you so much for your support of teachers and education. It does make all the difference in the world to have that support.

  108. Amen great article. Teachers are worth thier weight in gold. They are the table setters to our children’s future. We all should pitch in more if you are financially capable of doing it!

  109. As a teacher, THANK YOU. This is a well written article that hits the nail on the head. We don’t ask for much and we understand that there are parents who cannot afford the supplies, but for those who can, we appreciate you buying a little extra to help us out.

  110. Sing it loud and proud sister! That not counting the coats, reward prizes, b-day/Christmas gifts, new baby gifts, lunches, field trip money, seasonal craft supplies, classroom decorations, classroom books, and many extra hours afterschool tutoring on my time that I didn’t get paid for. You can’t imagine how much a classroom teacher spends to make lessons interesting and keep kids engaged and moving forward.

  111. As a teacher in the lowest paid state thank you for standing up for us. After daycare costs and insurance we are left with $400 a month from my check. And I buy tons of my own expo markers. 🙂

  112. Ok well let’s break it down. I am a nurse as you so poorly compared. I don’t know a nurse EVER that hasn’t spent money out of their own pocket. Let’s just take Katrina you should remember how us nurses and many doctors traveled far to help out and didn’t get paid, or how we drove to towns to get medical supplies we needed and to give to families. I couldn’t tell you how many times nurses brought clothes, lotion, and many other things a patient might need or food for a dying patient that requested it, I could go on for a long time. This is nights and weekends as well, nursing is a 24/7 job. Ok now comparison on salary!! Teacher 176 days oh and not consecutive well that appears to be about 259.00 dollars a day. You have the info look up nurses salaries!!! Oh and I have bought syringes for patients whose insurance paid for their vial of medicine but not for the syringe or pads… Bad comparison woman

  113. People do gripe. I caught hell because I asked people to buy a 50 cent piece of poster board for a project on the olympics. Just to cover those students who REALLY can’t afford it. I bought more that 60 myself. If I didn’t, that project wouldn’t haven’t gotten done. Thank you for your expressing your support.

  114. I love you! Thank you so very, very much!
    High School Teacher in Kansas City
    (Yes, even high school teachers must have supplies!)

  115. i understand it may be difficult to purchase things that are outside of your regular budget when you are living on a fixed income. Seriously though, i am a single father with 4 children at home and if you shop for bargains you can make it happen. I was able to get all the required items on my Kids’ list and extra to keep at home, and a little extra for each classroom, for less than $20. I am a custodian and i couldn’t afford all the cleaning and maintenance supplies needed to clean the building that i work at, if that was a requirement, or if my employer couldn’t afford to. My Kids’ go to school and use electricity, water and other resources that come out of the school budget plus, all students are offered to free meals and a snack in addition to bus transportation. The least i could do is provide a few supplies, generously.

  116. I wished I made 40k+ a year, took off 3 months for nothing, and was inside an a/c building year round. Just saying…

    1. First of all, I work at a year-round school where I get four 1-week breaks every season. But during the breaks that I have and during the three month summer breaks for those in a traditional education setting, that time “off” is spent lesson planning, organizing classrooms, grading, attending professional development, writing report cards, going to meetings, etc. As a first year teacher, I’m not quite making 40K yet and I’m spending quite above what the average teacher spends because I’m starting fresh. The larger purchases will hopefully be one-time investments, but the need for tissues, cleaning supplies, paper, and writing supplies will always be there.

  117. Here in nc we have the worst teacher pay in the us. Try raising children 3 of them on 14,000 a year andb having to fork out extra money.

  118. The students in our school system use the Expo markers for their personal desk whiteboards.
    They request for you to get a 4-6 pack so that they have enough to last them all year!

  119. I understand how teachers teach and what they do for our youth but they took this job knowing it don’t pay well but look at all the benefits they get such as never working a holiday 2 weeks off at Christmas, and all summer off. However, do you complain about a speeding ticket etc? Let me tell you law enforcement makes less than teachers do. Officers miss most holidays, get called out during birthday parties, they don’t get the summer off, and they put their life on the line daily. Most officers also have to purchase the equipment themselves as city and counties can’t purchase them. Many officers go with out a vest because they are basically being paid at poverty level. An experienced officer for ten years plus is lucky to make $35,000 a year. So my point here is teachers need to stop complaining because they have it pretty darn lucky. I do apologize for my grammar as I am on my phone. I am so tired of hearing about the poor teachers. Officers take the position knowing it could take their lives teachers know what they get when taking the position. If they don’t like it find another one. Be lucky for what you have.

    1. Sara,
      You are completely accurate. No teacher has ever made the comment “teachers have the only difficult job in the world.” However, we get summers off because we work well over 12 hours a day at least 6 days a week. I spend my evenings at home grading papers. Do you know how long it takes to grade 25 – 5th grade essays that are each 2+ pages? My summer “off” consisted of me getting half of June off. I started working on curriculum and getting my classroom ready in July and I spent my birthday in my classroom planning lessons. I do feel lucky because like you said, we do get those holidays off and some professions do not. I knew going in to education what the challenges were going to be: I would have to spend long hours grading and that I would have to spend $500+ of my own money, but that was never an issue because I love my job! Honestly, teachers don’t want you to say that we have the only difficult job in the world and that others jobs don’t have challenges of their own. What teachers want is for non-teachers to respect and support us in our challenges. We want parents to buy the pack of expo markers because they know we already bought 50 notebooks and folders.
      I appreciate police officers. My boyfriend was a police officer. He left because it was not enough pay. I know that they have to protect us during the holidays and that they have to sacrifice, also.
      Thank a teacher — that’s all this post is really about.

  120. Your breakdown of .97 per day on school supplies the teachers need to instruct your kids is not entirely accurate….it is far less than that because in your calculations you state that you spent $343 on school supplies and uniforms. …I feel that the uniform costs should be deducted from your equation for those are not supplies you bought so the teachers could instruct your kids.

  121. Thank you for understanding us teachers. I have already spent $500 on my classroom for this upcoming year. A lot of people don’t know that school districts only supply a relatively small amount of our needs. For example, we get 2 cases of paper per year. I needed 5 cases to meet the needs of my students. Guess who paid for the other 3? Daily I have students who come to school without paper and pencils. Guess who provides that? We teachers go into to education to encourage the love of learning. Yet I find myself being a surrogate parent meeting the needs of those whose parents don’t provide for their own.

  122. As a teacher, who stopped at Target tonight to buy classroom supplies for Monday, on the way home from my 2nd job…thank you.

  123. Thank you for this entry. I am a teacher in Illinois who has been at it for 11 years and I just now broke $40K a year! Anyhoo, I appreciate your understanding of what teachers do for their “kids”. God bless you.

  124. I’m a 1st grade teacher in NC. Thank you for your positive comments. The idea that starting teachers make $43,000 in your state blows me away. I’ve been teaching 20 years and around $7,000 less than that. I buy my own dry erase markers, and the ones the students bring are used by them for their own dry erase boards and center activities.

  125. “176 school days? And they get summers and all those school holidays off? Who wouldn’t want to be a teacher with perks like that?!” Yep, that’s the type of response you’ll hear from mothers like the one you’ve described in your post. It’s because they are self-centered snots who are raising a new generation of self-centered snots. They don’t think of what is truly involved in educating their children and are barely around to support at home what’s going on in the classroom. But once their little angel acts out in the classroom and is given a well-deserved detention, they’re the parents who come running to the school as fast as lightning to take on that “mean teacher who bullied” their bratty spoiled kid.

    I taught for 12 years,, and I could see the attitudes and respect in the kids change just a little bit with each passing year. That behavior comes from parents who refuse to discipline their kids at home (I’ll bet more than a few of you had parents who said if you got in trouble at school, you’d get it worse when you got home), and school administrators who don’t have the balls to stand up to the parents of the behavior problems because they can’t afford to lose their support for whatever sports program the parent donates money to. I’ll never forget the day that I finally figured it all out. I had a meeting with about 5 of my sophomore kids who had been causing problems in my classroom. The principal was supposed to meet all of us in my classroom after school, but he was late (and actually never showed up). The 5 students cornered me…alone in my room…with nowhere to go. Thankfully, a fellow teacher and friend happened to walk in at that moment and broke the tension, saving me from who knows what! That’s when I saw the writing on the wall and decided that was my last year. It’ll never change until parents start parenting and administrators do their jobs. :::stepping down from my soapbox now:::

      1. Yeeeah, how “self-centered” of her to want administrator/parent support and avoid physical assault by 5 high-school sophomores…Thanks for your compassion, Mother Teresa. *eye roll*

  126. Me and my husband do not have kids (I’m only 23) but every year I grab a supply list and pick a different grade and buy enough for at least one student and I usually throw in a few extra packs of paper, pencils, etc and on the first day of school I’ll drop it off in the office and the Secretary (a family friend of mine) will always pick a teacher she knows could really use it to give to.

    Also I saw where some people were not allowed to ask parents to bring extras (Kleenex, etc) and some parents dont want to just “donate” it. I know when I was in school (all the way until my senior year, and I know teachers who still do it) we were allowed to bring in one extra thing a month (for the classroom, not us individually, but could still be pack of paper or pencils) and we would get bonus points added to our lowest grade of the month.

  127. I love the article, but as a mother of 5 growing kids and a husband who works 80 plus hrs a week its hard to buy supplies and keep my kids clothed I know teachers can claim their expenses on their taxes bc I did when I home schooled but the schools should be spending more money on education rather than on sports

    1. You do know that claiming it on your taxes just means it’s not a taxed part of your income. The government doesn’t give them the money back – right? We have four kids. I understand where you are coming from. My husband and I are both teachers by choice. We also work part time jobs specifically to make ends meet. About half my second income goes into my classroom though because we do not get the needed supplies. We are in debt and struggling, but I have at least five kids a year that would drop out if it were not for our direct intervention at our school. While I agree less money should be spent on sports, it isn’t in the teacher’s power to fix that. The least parents can do is to ensure their children show up with the necessary materials. I’m not suggesting you don’t but pass the word on to other parents. A pen, pencil, paper and materials ARE necessary – every day. This is actually something we deal with on a daily basis at our school.

  128. Honestly the bigger issue here is where is all the money collected in taxes and the lottery that is supposed to fund education? Items like glue, paper, crayons should be staples in a school. Teachers should not be buying them and parents shouldn’t have to be buying them for the school either. It should be coming from the money that is collected in real estate taxes and the lottery. (At least in Florida that was the whole “purpose” for the lottery) i personally do not have a problem with donating supplies to the classroom but it does bother me that it is an issue. Some of these lists that come out of the school are ridiculous!! The school board should be held accountable for funding schools properly and if they can’t do it then they need to step aside and let someone else do it.

  129. Thank you for this article. I have heard so many people complain about buying Ziplock bags and other supplies that they think are just for the teacher. They forget that all the materials for Christmas gifts and Mother’s day gifts come out of the teacher’s pocket. I appreciate your consideration for all of the teachers.

  130. I’m so sick of hearing about how much teachers spend each year! It’s part of the job!! I work as a nurse and supply my own $200 stethoscope, $30 bandage scissors, pens, permanent markers, scrubs (10 sets that need to be replaced each year, each set costing a minimum $50), shoes (4 pair a year), and so on. Every career has expenses that you will pay out of pocket! I’m sure many teachers make more a year than I do as we’ll, but definitely don’t work half as hard! I take home only $32,000/ year before these expenses, so do that math! If you haven’t figured it out yet, I don’t feel sorry for any teacher! I send my 2 boys to school with all supplies asked of them, and I don’t mind. I just have read way too many teacher sob stories in the past 2 weeks!!!

    1. Goodness, we all have to buy professional clothes and shoes, teachers included. I am fairly sure your stethoscope and scissors are both one-time purchases, and honestly, I had no clue that nurses spend so much on supplies. On the other hand, I would never say you work half as hard as I do: I saw the work my mother’s nurses did while she was being treated for Alzheimers and cancer. But until you walk a mile in my shoes towing 32 teenagers, don’t judge how hard my job is. As to salary, you make only $2,000 a year more than a starting teacher in most states, but that’s not the issue, is it? We’re only asking that IF you can, support your child’s education. We, in turn, will do our best when a family member is under medical care. (I was at my mother’s beside 24/7 for the duration of her stay.) It’s called tolerance today, but there was a time when we called it kindness, love, patience, and understanding. When I run across a great article praising nurses and explaining the difficulties that they face, I’ll think of you and hope you are happy and well.

    2. To the nurse, Brittany: Everyone supplies their own work clothing, even some military members have to buy their uniforms. Your stethoscope and scissors are for your personal use, and you don’t have to buy 20-30 of them each year for your patients to use. Teachers purchase THEIR supplies as well, but these things are what the KIDS need, not the teachers. They can watch me do a math problem on the board, but they need an expo marker each individually to do it themselves.

      And please, stop acting like offices don’t supply employees with pens. That one is getting really old. They may be dollar store brand, but I am sure they are there.

    3. Oh Brittany Dear. I am also a Nurse in Florida. If you are only taking home 32K, you must be working some sort of strange job, or you are an LPN. The expenses you cite are true and real though actually, I did well as an RN with a less expensive stethoscope and definitely less expensive scrubs 50 bucks a pair means you are spending way too much cash. Those are supplies for you…and your stethoscope should be a 1 time expense. You are not expected to supply say- non-skid slippers for all your patients who forgot theirs at home…you go to the supply room for that. If your patient messes up those slippers, you throw them out and get a new pair from the supply room….you do’t have to go buy a pair out of your pocket. In addition, I don’t think that deciding you work harder than teachers is a great idea. Unless you have been a teacher, you don’t really know.

      That said, I really wish my taxes went to supporting education. I pay a lot in taxes, but I sure don’t see any improvements in my local roads, in the classrooms, or anywhere….that concerns me….

  131. $43,000! That is an excellent wage for around 2/3’s a year’s work. I would work 300 days a year for that kind of money. Our teachers do NOT get paid too little. They are state employees with great benefits.

    I don’t make $28,000 a year before taxes. I don’t have benefits. I have to work all year long. And, I have 2 degrees.

    They are NOT heroes for doing their jobs that they wanted to do. No, they should not have to come out of pocket for anything, but neither should the parent. That is what taxes are for. Think about the single, childless guy who pays all the same taxes. What about casino money, lotto money, and any other stupid thing that is supposed to pay in for schools and public services.

    1. I take offense at your reference to 2/3 year. As a teacher I am contracted from 7:30 to 3:15. I usually get there at 7:00 and leave around 5:00. In addition, I work on the weekends and at night. During my 1/3 time off I create materials, plan, and prep and take continuing education classes. I also choose to read books that will help me be a better teacher. I just spent my entire Saturday cutting out homework folders, writing a grant for a field trip, and setting up iPads that I paid for out of my pocket because they took our outdated dinosaurs/computers away. I also designed two crafts for the first week of school. I have been working in my class every day since Aug 1st. I am not contracted to start my 2/3 year until this coming Wednesday. And to be honest I’m a little panicked that I don’t have time to get everything done that needs to be done.
      As far as the single guy with no kids….EVERYONE benefits from an educated society!
      However, sometimes we do need to remember its not the level of education, it’s what you do with it that counts.

    2. I’m a special ed teacher at a year-round non-public school that serves severely autistic students who weren’t getting their needs met in a public school or county setting. I get a total of 4 weeks off every year and my sick days/vacation time are horrendous. When a student head-butted me and caused a concussion, I was out for 2 weeks and that recovery time was pulled out of my sick pay.

      If you want to get nit-picky and not consider a teaching credential a degree, fine, but teachers graduate with the college debt of somebody who pursued 2 degrees, and there are a lot of teachers who go back for their Master’s. Even with budgeting, it takes us so much longer to pay off our student loans. We scrimp and save to avoid spending so much out of pocket, yet we always do. Teachers are the biggest dumpster divers, thrift shoppers and garage sale enthusiasts around.

      If your child is in the education system and you can afford designer clothing and the latest technology, cough up the money for tissues, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes.

    3. Are you the single guy that pays the same taxes? Because if you are, you can thank the teachers who for all the people who provide you services. Without basic education, those people wouldn’t be able to do the job for all the things you enjoy or need.

      I’m sorry you don’t make more with your two degrees. However, before you throw out a caustic comment like this, you might want to get your facts straight. Even at 9 months (most school years are about 10 months long now), that is 3/4 of the year. That’s just contact time with the student. That doesn’t include the meetings, workshops and training (unpaid of course). The average teacher salary is NOT $43K nationwide. It’s about $36K. Is that really too much? My summer schedule doesn’t allow me to get a second job for the 2 months I am off because I have to go to various county mandated meetings. No employer is going to give me three days off this week and two days off the following week, etc.

      I think before you post inciteful commentary, you might want to do a little research. Lottery, alternate tax and even property tax doesn’t go TO the teachers directly. It goes to the system and is filtered down after all the state, district and operating expenses are paid first. When the money runs out, the classroom is the first to suffer.

      In our state (Florida), the lottery money goes to college scholarship funds for graduating seniors. Do you really think a teacher should be forced to buy students books, pens and pencils (among other things) so they can graduate and qualify for scholarships? Isn’t that the parent’s job? When these teachers do go the extra mile to help students, motivate them and take care of them – do they not deserve gratitude and thanks?

      The only solution that would fit your post (as for teachers or parents not paying for it) would be to raise taxes so no one specific has to pay for it – and where does that leave the single guy? I have four kids. I am a teacher. I would never think of making a teacher pay for my student’s supplies. I’m not asking anyone to call me a hero but I do think they should buy their own supplies.

    4. Philip, Philip, Philip I do hope you do not believe that we teachers get paid in the summer for “doing nothing”. We only get paid for 10 months! If we want a paycheck for the other 2 months, it is deducted from our pay and put into an account so that we will get OUR own money in the summer. I have spent HUNDREDS of hours and dollars this summer preparing for the upcoming school year. I do not have to do this but since I care deeply about my babies and families I haven’t even met yet, I do it from the heart. I beg to differ–my students do think I am a HERO! If you have 2 degrees then you might want to go into teaching! Most states do have something called “lateral entry”. Check it out and then let me know if you still think we are paid too much!!!

    5. Oh, sweetie, then you should have chosen different degree programs… Or you should get a different job. Why are mad at the teachers who are lucky enough to make this $43,000 of which you speak (many of them don’t – depends on city/state/county among other things… Just like those of us in the corporate world who might make $35K living in Nebraska but make $50K for the same position with the same company if living in Chicago… Cost of living applies in many industries.).

    6. Sadly the money from taxes supplying those things needed in schools are cut. In general school population is increasing, funding is decreasing. US teachers who are paid over the summer have pay divided over 1 year rather than just contract days. In my state sick and any missed days are held against the employee evaluation. All the schools I have worked at use the cleaning wipes, tissues, purell, and dry erase markers. The dry erase markers are used by the kids during math and literacy activities.

      If parents want kids to have nose tissues, the supplies to work in class, and even the lysol type wipes it will either cost them some money out of pocket or a tax increase.

      Your average teacher wage is too high. I have two degree-one is a masters. My income is $30,000 before taxes and ever increasing (all industries) benifit cost. My income is $14,000 a year. Half of every month goes to my loans (paying at the lowest montly pay option). I went into a new position this year and had no supplies, which I have to buy with my own money-there is no funding for those supplies. While spending the other half of my pay on additional classes and trainning to keep my position. Yes that is a problem. I have other bills to pay.

      Sorry your income is soo low with 2 degrees (and likely debt from those degrees).

  132. I agree with your post. However, every job that you do as an adult you are required to spend certain out of pocket expenses for. Whether it be uniforms, dress clothes, pens, brief case, stethoscope, tools, computers, phones, and so much more. You are able to write these off on your taxes with a receipt and a form.
    My biggest challenge is them requesting things that my children do not need. And at the end of the year come home with 10 pages used out of each notebook or crayons never used and so on. I’m a single mom so my money is already stretched to the max. So when I’m asked to send 2 boxes Kleenex, 4 expo markers, 2-12 pack yellow pencils, and 4 large glue sticks when we have only ever went thru 2 small ones a yr. It makes me alittle irrated because I’m not supplying the classroom. I’m proving for my child. Now don’t get me wrong I have sent extras and such throughout the school yr when I could afford it. I keep extras at home so if my child is running low at school they can always take a new one. On that note thank you teachers for all your hard work. Have a great school year! God bless you all

    1. When computers and phones are required, they are typically provided. Additionally, they are for the employees use. These materials are for the children, and a classroom full of them, not one employee.

  133. Awesome post!!!!!! I teach Kindergarten in a low income district with approximately 85% second language students. I spend THOUSANDS of dollars for my classroom every year. I don’t mind because I can afford it. But sometimes, my husband does reign me in a little. When he does I ask parents for supplies or donations. If I send home a note asking for glue sticks, I get BAGS of glue sticks. One time our grade level asked for each child to bring $2 so we could rent water slides on our last day of school. One parent sent $100 and said it was in case some of the kids didn’t bring money. Don’t know what I would do without amazing parent help!

  134. Thank you. Btw- I am still paying my school loans to be a teacher. There is also that year of school and classes that pays you nothing for you ‘on the job training.’ But I love what I do and will continue to do it for many years-
    God willing.

  135. Thank you so much! As a teacher, this article means so much to me. It is nice that some people see that we pay for those supplies out of our own pockets. We do that because we love your children like our own and want to supply the best education that we possibly can.

  136. Wow… where to start…

    1. If my child’s teacher used 20 packs of Expo markers, I wouldn’t be opposed to buying them. The students don’t use them, and she has a smart board, yet those Expos show up every year.

    2. Cleaning supplies, (paper towels, Lysol, Clorox wipes) again, I wouldn’t mind, if they were used. See more later.

    3. Pencils, paper, construction paper, crayons, washable markers, ruler, pencil box? SURE!

    4. Zip top bags… must be ‘name brand’. Really? Paper plates.

    Back to points 1, 2, and 4. When, at the end of the year, I see stacks and stacks of cleaning supplies, markers, and bags in EVERY classroom we walk by, there is a huge problem. Yet, at the beginning of every year, there isn’t a Clorox wipe to be found. This is one of the many reasons we are home schooling this year.

    I would prefer to send in an empty spray bottle and five gallons of industrial cleaner, with towels. I would happily wash those towels each and every week, if I knew they were used. Last year, my son had strep four times in three months, despite the bleaching and sanitizing we did here at home. I’m certain there are teachers who use the supplies, but at my son’s school, it simply didn’t happen. He was attending one the highest rated schools in our state, (Indiana) and this is the sort of thing we had to deal with on a yearly basis.

    I can see both sides of this issue, but it really all comes down to being lucky enough to have one of the teachers who care, and they are few and far between.

    1. Teachers who care are few and far between?? Really?? Grant you, I know some teachers who are too burned out to adequately serve their students and do seem to have reached a point of complacence, but NONE of them started out not caring and none of them ever stop caring about the kids. The administration, maybe. The parents, maybe. Yes, just about every teacher I know has felt helpless and complacent at some point in their career, but most teachers love what they do and where I teach, those stacks of supplies from August are GONE by October.

      I’m sorry you had a negative experience in *one* educational setting, but I ask you, did you actually talk to the teachers? Did you stop to ask why they will need so many whiteboard markers with a SMART Board or why the Zip-lock bags must be name brand? It’s possible the teacher doesn’t care and is just in it for the pay (doubtful). It’s possible an administrator sent out that list and the classroom teacher had no idea. It’s possible the students work on laminated or whiteboard surfaces on a regular basis and the markers get worn down quick.

      I find it sad and frankly offensive that you’ve reached the conclusion that caring teachers are few and far between when it doesn’t seem like you’ve taken the time to understand them. Teachers, parents, policymakers, administrators….we should ALL be focused on the core cause of what we do – the kids.

  137. I am a teacher and appreciate your post and the comments and replies that have been added. I don’t want to get into a hot debate about why I am a pubic school teacher…I consider teaching my vocation and calling from God. I teach 100+ teenagers in three blocks that are almost two hours long. The supplies we use in a semester is staggering and the majority of my students are from low socioeconomic areas, so they come with few pencils and less paper. In addition to the $300 I have spent in the last week to set up my classroom, I will spend at least $200 more for supplies during the year. I will be reimbursed $40, total, nothing more.
    I choose to sponsor a club and help students to raise money for those who cannot afford to participate in some of our activities, including convention. As part of a service organization, our members will participate in several community service projects. I help in raising funds for those and, if necessary, purchase needed supplies.
    These are not complaints: they are simply the facts but, every time I spend money to do my job, I am taking from the money that could go to my children, grandchildren, or retirement. We (my husband and I) have chosen to live this life, but it has meant a life of second jobs and long hours for both of us. My pay, you see, is for the 180 days a year I work–no holidays, no more, no less. The problem is the amount I am paid for those days. Teachers are professionals who should be paid as professionals. Not having enough supplies to do my job only adds to the insult of low wages. But parents can soften the blow with an occasional thank you. It would be heavenly if a few parents stood up for teachers–pass an education tax, attend a school board meeting to praise the good we do, and demand that teacher be treated like professionals. After all, these are your children and standing up for their teachers is standing up for their education.

  138. Thank you for taking the time to write this! I am a teacher who has spent more money than I would like to admit on supplies for my classroom so my kids can have the experiences I want them to have! I also make sure my kids’ teachers have what they need/want to make the classroom an inviting, enriching and engaging environment! Many of us could “make do” with the basics but for me, making do is not good enough! I want these sweeties to have experiences that truly help them understand the concepts I am teaching. So I buy M&Ms to sort, count and compare. I buy playdough ingredients so my kids can learn to follow a recipe and see how basic ingredients come together to make something totally different and fun! I do this because it’s what I believe is best for my children! I so appreciate parents who get this and are willing, and ready, to contribute in any way they are able!

  139. I hope this post goes viral, not only to teachers, but to administrators, policymakers and parents. I will share in every way I can, and I encourage others to do the same.

  140. As a junior in high school, I understand both sides of the argument:

    First, teachers with low wages should not have to be paying out of pocket for supplies to do their job… no other professional does. I do not mind supplying my teachers with tissue, EXPO markers, notecards, pens or pencils, whatever it may be. I cannot think of a time that I have not contributed to my teachers classrooms, unless they do not ask.

    However, as a student who lives in a middle-class home with parents who pay over $4000 in taxes JUST to our school district, I do have a problem with the fact that my parents have to pay $90 for me to park in the school parking lot, EVERY YEAR and that they had to pay $25 for a 100 page sketchbook, for my art class, that had 80 blank pages at the end of the year. Then around March, I have to pay $89 for each Advanced Placement test that I am REQUIRED to take since I chose to be in an upper-level course work. Not to mention that because I had the honor of becoming an FFA (school organization) officer this year, I had to pay $350 of my own money to attend events that I was REQUIRED to be at. Then, because I am an avid livestock exhibitor (costs me about $4000 each year), I have to pay $50 per animal to keep my animals at the school Ag barn which myself and other livestock exhibitors are in charge of maintaing and keeping clean. Where is my $50 going?

    Granted, we did not have to pay this much in elementary and middle school but high school has become very costly.

    I have amazing teachers and go to a wonderful school, but sometimes something has got to give. Why are my parents being forced to pay this? Why are our schools not fundraising? Does anyone even collect box tops anymore? Why are public schools becoming so expensive now? I should be saving money for college but instead I am spending it every year on a public school district.

    1. We do a ton of fundraising at the elementary level, and we still save box tops. Box tops earn about $2,000 a year for our school. I agree with you about all the crazy fees at the high school level, though. It’s ridiculous.

  141. Love the article, love the point. Agree 100%… However, your comparison of hospitals is a little tough to swallow…because the last time I spent the night in a hospital, they charged me $80 for administration of IB profen. So…actually you should say that parents could either buy the markers at $7 for a 10 pack or pay the school $70 for 1 marker… That would be more accurate. Back to the original topic though…I bet those parents spent $1000 on school clothes for their 2 girls and didn’t even blink an eye… I am so disappointed in my generations parenting skills.

  142. This was a great post! Very interesting read. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and supporting teachers! I have spent a couple of hours reading all the comments and they are fascinating. Such impassioned arguments from both sides of the coin.

    Here are my thoughts: I’m a public school teacher. I love my profession and I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. I love teaching children. I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was 5 years old. It is a calling from God…my mission in life. I certainly didn’t become a teacher get rich. Would I like to make more than $36,000 a year after 13 years of teaching? Of course I would. Not going to happen though. Oh well. I DO get hurt and offended when I hear people speak so disrespectfully about and to teachers. I don’t complain about my job, and I’m not lazy or cheap. Just because my job is challenging, doesn’t mean it’s not challenging to be a nurse or a police officer, too. We all have challenging jobs, and we all have to spend time and money to purchase supplies and equipment in order to do our jobs. There’s no reason to be a hater, folks! I have 2 sons that I support on that $36K a year and no child support whatsoever. It’s hard. I commit to teaching summer school each summer so I can make a little extra money to buy new clothes, shoes and school supplies for my sons (yes, I make sure I get everything their teachers ask for!), as well as school supplies for my classroom. My regular pay does not cover extra stuff like that. I live paycheck to paycheck…as do most Americans, sadly. I usually try to spend no more than $300 on my own classroom each year. I could easily spend more, of course, but I just don’t have it. My school does supply some things, but their budget is limited.I can get supplies for myself, such as paper clips, pens, Sharpies (one of each in red, blue and black), Expo markers (a couple), sentence strips, construction paper, tag board. I can get some lined paper and a couple of dozen pencils. They don’t supply glue or crayons. They don’t supply things like hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes. We can get 2 small boxes of Kleenex a month. Last year, my class went through 2 boxes of Kleenex in about a week during cold and flu season. My Kleenex that had been supplied by the parents was gone by February, so I just purchased it myself as needed. Parents don’t HAVE to supply all that stuff. The list we send out is just a suggested list. I truly do appreciate any support and donations I can get from parents, though. We do go through a lot of Expo markers, when the kids use their white boards. They are rough on them. We do go through tissues like crazy. This year I asked for 2 boxes from each family, instead of 1, because I ran out so early last year. I’m so thankful that I have parents that can afford them, and have donated them. We go through Clorox wipes like crazy…their desks get super nasty in the span of a week. The bottom line is….please send school supplies if you can. If you can’t, then don’t. Don’t hate on us just because we might ask for donations and help! I wouldn’t want ANYONE to give to our classroom out of duress. I don’t want my sons’ teachers to spend a ton of money on school supplies. I will supply what they need for my children. I also ask my sons throughout the year if they need more pencils or new crayons. I don’t think many parents realize that a 3rd grader can go through at least 1 pencil a day. 🙂

    1. Oh, and in addition to school supplies, I also had to pay $67 to get my fingerprints and background check done again, because my clearance card expired. I kind of wish the state would pay for that since it’s a requirement to work with children, but it’s just part of the deal if you want to teach. I am sure other professions have to pay fees like this, too, so teachers are by no means the only ones.

    2. It’s the little things like the jar of vasoline and the box of q-tips I purchase every year for the students who don’t have Chapstick but do have lips that are burning from being so dry during the winter. Or the 30 pairs Fisker scissors I buy because the school-supplied ones don’t cut well. I don’t NEED to buy these. But I know how distracted and irritated I am when my lips are chapped or how I feel when I try to cut a piece of paper and it flattens between the blades, so I supply these out of empathy. Last year, I moved to a new school to teach 4th grade after being out of the classroom for 12 years! I moved into an empty classroom. $1,600 later I had a classroom that was functional. I bought $300 worth of chapter books, a $45 rug for the library corner, $180 worth of cheap bookshelves for my instructional materials, $600 worth of instructional materials, a $40 rolling cart for lugging work to and from school each day, $300 for baskets to contain all the supplies supplied by the school (glue, crayons, 1 expo marker per child, construction paper, pencils, etc.) and for the teaching materials I purchased (dice, protractors, rulers, colorful post-it notes, magnets, chart paper markers, erasers, etc.), $200 for fabric to hang on the bulletin boards, borders and letters and posters…..oh, never mind. Parents just remember this, when you walk into your child’s classroom, about 40% of what you see in the room and on the walls is paid for by the teacher because he or she wants YOUR child to have a successful year in school. No complaints from this teacher because I love what I do. But it sure would be nice to replace my old washer and dryer this year without having to scrimp and save.

  143. I teach science, so the odd and numerous materials I have bought over the years and the supplies I have provided really add up. I have extrapolated what it will have cost me to do my job up till retirement. The total equals an entire years’ salary. That said, I also am married to another science teacher, so make that a loss of two years salary as he also buys things to take to class. My colleague just purchased ten tablet computers with her own money so her science course could access technology.

    We have not had a raise in 6 years Extra responsibilities which no longer carry a stipend and take up more and more of our free time. In the first 20 years of teaching, a class load in junior high used to be 150 students. These days I am at 195 students.

    Thank you to parents who drop off a box of tissues, who send a ream of paper, and who raise children who respect their teachers. You cannot imagine my joy yesterday when a student paused at my desk on the third day of school and thanked me for being his teacher.

  144. We always had to buy supplies for our 2 girls from K – 8. Most of the time this put a real bind on us because we live from paycheck to paycheck pretty much all the time. Start of the school year gets VERY TIGHT. And it does really does make me kind of angry when I know that my kids didn’t even get to use their own crayons, pencils, markers, notebooks etc (and before I have 100 teachers telling me that this isn’t the way it is, this IS the way it was at our school). I don’t mind so much the tissues and hand sanitizer (kids are basically just little germ factories and NO ONE ever keeps their sick kids at home), but having to pay for some of that other stuff, stuff you can’t really afford, BLOWS! Someone said that if you couldn’t send what your kid needed that you should have social services called on you. Judgemental much? People who are fortunate enough to be able to afford $100+ per kid might ought to stop pointing the finger of shame at other people. Maybe they just can’t afford it. You never know what someone else’s situation is. And to be quite honest, I feel bad for the teachers when they have to pay out of their pocket for supplies, but if it’s a choice between that and my kids eating generic mac and cheese for dinner for a month to pay for it I’m going to choose my kids’ eating a decent dinner.

    Now that they are both in high school, we don’t have to deal with the supply lists anymore, but now we have to pay anywhere from $75 to $125 per child as “classroom fees”. And we still have to buy their supplies (but at least now they get to keep them). Free education? Not so much.

    1. Right there with you. The “sharing” of the supplies like we’re in a socialist state has been what has bothered me over the last couple of years. Part of the fun of back-to-school shopping and new supplies when I was a kid was being able to express your own personality through your pencils, folders, erasers, etc. My son, going into fourth grade, is only this year allowed to do that. Before, in a different district, we were actually told NOT to put his name on most of his supplies because he doesn’t actually get to keep the supplies we paid for and sent in. I don’t mind contributing to a classroom stash of tissues, wipes, baggies, the like – even generic pencils. It’s just when we scour multiple stores to make sure we bring in the “required” four colors of plastic folders with brads AND pockets and my son ends up using the paper ones someone else brought in, I get a little frustrated.

      I want to say, too, that I really do appreciate that teachers are putting extra time and $$ into our kids, into making their learning environment better and more enriching. I don’t think they should be providing supplies to the kids that lack, though. Some other system needs to be created – parents need to be reminded that an education costs something, even if it’s “just” the cost of required supplies. Years ago, if kids didn’t bring the right supplies to class or school (esp in middle or high school), they did without or scrounged from friends. I’m sure some of the teachers did more behind the scenes than I as a student realized, but teachers need to set boundaries, too.

  145. I am definitely not a teacher but I now have 3 children in school and this year has been a bit of struggle to get everything the kids need for the education. I get the things that they HAVE to have start the year and the then throughout the school year I buy things such as you are talking about, EXPO markers, baby wipes, extra tissues. The things they don’t necessarily need on the very first day. And I always tell my kids teachers to please let me know if you need things like this. Always happy to help but sometimes it’s very difficult all at once. Hopefully the plan for the the next school makes things easier for our household. Thank you all the teachers in the world for doing what you do!

  146. As a teacher who spends quite a bit out of pocket, I so appreciate this blog! We have been able to write off at least $250 off of our taxes but that was eliminated.

  147. The reason I use the larger packs of colored Expo markers is I teach special needs students and I use them for connections when I teach reading and writing. We relate each section of writing by color and highlight important vocabulary or grammar in reading texts by color. In addition, I illustrate the work on white boards as much as possible to hold the interest of my students. Having a variety of colors allow me to use realistic representations of my drawings. However, the number one reason I would use the larger packs of colored Expo markers is the color variety makes me happy!

  148. As a retired school teacher from a neighboring parish, I can tell you all that the estimated amount a teacher spends yearly is grossly understated. We don’t consider the small costs that we pick up every time we go into the store in that big amount we put out at the beginning of the year to replenish our supplies. But to provide the education your children requires much, and if we are to do our job adequately, we make sure the supplies are there as needed. If sending some extra things will help the teachers of my grandchildren now, I, knowing the need, think it’s my obligation to provide whatever is necessary.

  149. And this is part of the reason out society is losing it’s intelligence and common sense. Education is not a priority. School and doing well in school was a priority when I was growing up. My mom made sure I had the supplies I needed and I don’t remember my fellow students not really being prepared either (I’m sure there were some, but it was a small number). Parents now expect teachers to be responsible for raising their children for them, it’s always the fault of the teacher that their child is failing a class (never mind that your child spent all afternoon drinking soda, eating junk, and watching tv or playing video games and did not once attempt to so homework or study).

    I am not a teacher, I do not have children in school, and I’m not married or related to a teacher. But I believe that teachers, who are educating our next generations of doctors and politicians and leaders, etc, deserve to be financially compensated for the work they do. They educate our kids in hopes they will be able to positively contribute to society. If their hands are tied due to limited resources, they can’t teach our children to the best of ther ability. Why would we not want to give our children every possibly advantage in life that we can.

  150. As an inner city teacher, I’ve been hitting tag sales and sales all summer for desk chairs, expo markers, colored pencils, folders, binders, bins, poster board, mouse pads, book shelves, letter trays, BOOKS and any other “extras” you can think of :)… It has been 15 years and it doesn’t lessen that much. It makes my job and life easier to be prepared. What I wouldn’t give for a 16 pack of markers lol!!
    One of my best gifts was a student who saved up and bought me copy paper with her own money with no parental involvement at all!!!!!!!! She just knew I kept complaining about having to buy my own and not have enough. No one takes many of my students back to school shopping. Thanks for your support.

  151. You can have your opinion. Just don’t judge other people for your blog to carry your message, which seems to be: if you have the means to purchase extra supplies to help teachers out, please do. Here are the reasons why your extra support would be appreciated.

    I’m tired of reading sensationalized garbage online to get a rise out of readers. You have a valid point. Poet it rest on its own merits.

  152. As the Mother of a teacher I know how much she spends out of pocket to provide her kids with the essentials!

  153. I realize this is state specific, but if you could also research how much you’re paying in taxes that actually goes to the schools and divide that by the number of days of instruction, that would also be interesting to note……

  154. Our teachers get $75 the rest comes out of there pocket. Kids loss, steel and break supplies. Before school start I post all the good deal so people can get the best deal. We are having a Clinic shower to provide the nurse some need and will have another school supply drive half way through the year. Our staff and teacher give countless hours to our kids the least we can do is give them the supplies they need.

  155. The issue of parents complaining about Expo markers has always bothered me. We ask for Expos not for the teacher, but the kids actually use them daily. We have small dry erase boards for each child. They are great for math drills, spelling practice, letter formation, etc. It allows the teacher a quick assessment as to which kids have mastered a skill or need more instruction. So yes. This teacher has to go buy the mega pack since only 2 of her students will typically send in the Expos on the supply list. These markers have to be replaced multiple times throughout the year as well. And as for the survey of how much is spent by teachers on their classroom, it must have been an average of grades K-12. As an elementary teacher, I spend more than $1000 each year on my classroom.

    1. As a teacher myself, we don’t write on the board with dry erase markers anymore. It’s 2014. We use a promethean board/smart board. The dry erase markers are for the students. They use the markers to complete math on a whiteboard so we don’t have to use copies and paper. I think it’s shameful for anyone to think that teachers would ask parents to buy supplies for them. Any supplies brought into the classroom are for students to use. I wonder if other occupations ask their employees to buy tissue out of their pockets for their customers to use. Try using toilet paper instead.

    2. My daughter is a teacher and not only does she by supplies for her classroom, she has bought coats for kids that didn’t have one, breakfast for one’s that didn’t have one that morning and she goes above and beyond what is asked of her….that is what teachers do everyday. Proud of you Sweetpea….

  156. Great article and so true. It always makes me laugh when I get school supplies and the parents have opened the package and took out the “extra” that we didn’t ask for.

  157. I have grown to love my daughters teachers. I donate whatever supply needed and volunteer my time when I can. Teachers are special people and I appreciate all they do for our children.

  158. At school a dad once said he had to get to his “real job” and teaching is not? Thank you for acknowledging teachers, some don’t. Let me tell you… It’s not only school supplies- it’s snacks and possibly clothing too. I teach low income children and have seen where they live, it breaks your heart.

  159. As the mother of a first grade teacher in an inner city school in Lexington, Kentucky I applaud you. This hits the nail on the head. Teachers not only use their own money for supplies but their day is not 8-5. My daughter starts her day an hour before the kids get to school and is lucky to be home by 7 only to have to grade papers or work on the next assignment. Thanks for writing this article!

  160. As a single mother, and teacher, who is dead broke from buying things for my classroom, and has been looking forward to my monthly paycheck for the last two weeks……great article!

  161. Thank you for your words and your understanding. School supply buying for us doesn’t even end at the beginning if school. It goes year round.

  162. this is so very true as well my daughter who is starting her first year of teaching fifth grade in one of the Rochester ny , and I know she has spend already ou of pocket,but she is that kind of person she will help out of her pocket for her kids.

  163. Thank you so much for your article. Every year I spend quite a bit on my classroom and my students. I face those parents that don’t buy the supplies and their child comes in with nothing so I in turn provide the student with the supplies. While these same parents get their nails and hair done and always look well put together. I understand the parents who just don’t have it to give, but the ones who can and simply won’t makes me boil inside every time. Thanks again!

  164. Thank you for the article and I thank you for your compassion towards teachers. Your kind words touched my heart. I, too, am a teacher, and I wish more parents had such empathy towards us.

  165. I think you may have read her indignation out of context, or maybe I’m projecting my thoughts on her, but it could be directed not at the teacher per se, but at the idea that we are supposed to receive a free education based on the taxes we contribute.
    I have not heard one wealthy friend of mine complain, rather I see them contributing the most to fundraisers, class gifts, class parties, PTO, etc. My less well-off friends, however, are in woe over the hundreds in fees for two children, plus school supplies. Remember, when we were kids, school supplies meant stuff we used ourselves, not mandatory class contributions.
    Any indignation I hear is directed at the district, state, and federal system that keeps requiring teachers to do more with less, and much more with much less. Schools and teachers have to ask for supplies, but they shouldn’t have to.
    Education needs to be more of a priority in our country, starting with teachers: pay them more or require less of them. Give them the tools and support personnel they need to do their jobs. Quit asking them to do things not related to teaching.