Teachers paying more for kids' school supplies
As state and local governments cut education budgets and voters kill referendums, the folks running classrooms are stocking them, too.
As NBC News discovered, increased school district cutbacks across the country are forcing teachers to dip into their own pockets to buy supplies for students that are usually covered by the schools themselves. According to a recent survey conducted by insurance firm Horace Mann, which focuses on products for teachers, 53% of teachers said their budgets for classroom supplies have been cut.
General items, including paper and pens, top the list of materials not covered sufficiently by current budgets. That's followed by math and science tools, then reading material. According to the survey, 26% of the 814 teachers participating spent $400 of their own money on supplies last year -- a 3% increase from 2011.
Only about 9% of K-12 education funding comes from the federal government, which leaves school budgets in the hands of state and local agencies. In many cases, it's left to voters to determine funding through referendum items.
Last November, California voters approved Proposition 30 to increase taxes and shift more funding toward education. In June, California's legislature passed Gov. Jerry Brown's budget calling for a $38 billion increase in education spending for grades K through 12. Florida, Texas and North Dakota, however, have implemented state education cuts and are determined to keep them in place.
In North Carolina, those cuts have been particularly acute.
"We're letting our teachers know how rough the situation is," said Eric Moore, a fiscal accountant at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, told CNBC.com. "We've only got about 35% of our past budgets for supplies this year. After the Great Recession, decisions were made to cut supply funding instead of teaching positions, and we're still facing that lack of funding."
That's forcing an increasing numbers of teachers to go online and seek donations for items including pens, paper or computers. While groups like cut-rate supply company RAFT help that cause, charity sites including DonorsChoose.org assist teachers in paying for bigger items including field trips and science fairs.
"We've had a 30% year growth from last year in the number of requests from teachers," Charles Best, CEO of DonorsChoose.org, told CNBC.
If skinflint taxpayers don't want to pay to educate their kids or, at the very least, improve their school district and local property values, they shouldn't be surprised when their kids' schools look like the charity wards they've become.
My wife is a teacher and we spend a load on kid's supplies. It is amazing how little some of these parents supply their children.
Yes, the state could be a little better funded, but pens, paper, markers... those are mom and dad's responsibility. OF course, we are not going to let the kids suffer for their parents lack of attention. I think some parents anticipate that though and send their children to school completely unrepaired.
Too much of the school budgets are being used for administration. For hundreds of years, our children were educated quite well without a bunch of assistant superintendents or vice-principals or curriculum coordinators. Now, we have all these added administrators and gadgets and special programs for every possible behavioral "disability" known to man. Schools are becoming "campusus" with multiple buildings and "student lounges" and other amenities. And yet, somehow, our kids are dumber than ever.
Baby boomers have raped the economy and now won't vote to support schools--"I've raised MY children." People that vote not to support education but will support wars. WTF??
Education should be everyone's top priority. Our entire future is dependent upon it.
My wife and I, both public school teachers, easily spend $25-$40 a week on pens, paper, glue, etc. for our students. It's a vicious circle. If we don't buy it, the kids have an excuse to not work. If you buy it, kids just assume you will always provide. Parenting in this country has gone downhill so drastically. Kids are sent to school hungry, poorly clothed, unwashed, yet have $300 cell phones and sneakers. The supply lists are not much longer than they were 40 years ago when I started school, just more detailed and specific. Regardless of opinion on what parents are asked to buy, it is the simple necessities which students have always needed that are not being brought in... paper and pen.
These are some of the reasons I am looking into leaving education. It makes me sad because I love the kids and love the subject I teach (history). At some point, however, I need to take into account that I am making very little for all the work and money I put into my career.
This is one topic that makes my blood boil. My good old dark RED state of Kansas has been cutting education funding consistently for at least the last 20 years. The lack of funding extends into the student debt issue also. I graduated college in 1979 for a total cost for the 4 year degree of around $6000 from me. A large part of my cost I didn't have to pay came from the GI Bill and from my companys' tuition aid program. However, at that time about 78% of the colleges' operating budget was covered from state subsidies. I checked last night and that subsidy is down to around 8% at the college I checked. It varies from college to college. The states funding for K-12 has also dipped below what is called for in the state constitution and the State Supreme Court has order the state legislature to increase the appropriation. Our republican State Legislatures solution is to try to create a law against having the state supreme court have any say whatsoever in school funding.
As a side note, last I saw, the retirement fund for state employees is sitting at about 40% funding so the governor, Mr. Sam Brownbeck is on a huge campaign to eliminate the state income tax. While I'm not crazy about taxes in any way shape or form, I recognize this as an effective political move aimed at the ulta conservative/tea partiers that have this entire state in their pocket.
Seems as though the only time a parent is aware of the kids is when (1) if they are being bullied (2) they get to much homework (3) they get notes home from the teacher for behavior problems. My dad was a teacher in high school. He not only spent many hours after school to help with school work or he was to go-to teacher when a problem at home was bothering a student. He did all this with no additional compensation, not that he would have asked for it. There are many teachers today who have the same ethic which is admirable but does not help put food on their tables or pay the rent.
This is not to say that all parents fit into this category. Give up a pack or two of cigarettes or a case of beer folks. These children are your prime concern and it is your responsibility to see that they are supplied with the necessary needs for school-not the teacher!!!!!
What I've never understood is why we keep throwing money at our educational system and think that is going to change anything. I've worked with several different school districts and it always seems the same. The money is syphoned off into teacher's retirements and administration. The kids don't see the money they are supposed to see. I observed, in one school district, the principal taking money from the special education classroom fund and using it for the other teacher's time off funding and special pet projects. I saw so much graft and corruption because there was very little oversite.
This, along with the liberal agendas that seem so prevalent in the public school system, is the core reason I took a part time position so that I could homeschool my daughter. With just a fraction of the funding they claim they need per student, I will have her educated far above the level of her grade and in half the time.
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