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No More Pencils, No More Books. Unless Teachers Buy Them.

No More Pencils, No More Books. Unless Teachers Buy Them.

School is back in session all over the country. Kids are filling classrooms, ready to learn. But, do they have everything they need to get the most out of school? No.

Parents have certainly done their bit, loading backpacks with schools supplies in anticipation of the new year. But not every parent has the wherewithal to foot that kind of bill. So, too, school budgets no longer cover all the materials called for in a lesson plan. (Not like in the good old days when children could get their free paste and eat it too.)

So, who makes up the difference? Teachers.

The nation’s K–12 public school teachers shell out, on average, $459 a year on school supplies for which 90 percent of them are not reimbursed, according to the Economic Policy Institute. And, that’s just for starters. In high poverty areas teachers can spend as much as $529 during the school year to ensure kids have what they need.

Of course, the amount out of pocket also depends on how schools are funded in the state, the cost of living in the state, and other factors.

The Institute’s report also notes, “That teachers subsidize schools should come as no surprise. In some districts, teachers are increasingly called on to serve as first responders when it comes to children’s basic needs.” Oh, and one more thing. Teachers earn 21 percent less than other college graduates on a weekly basis.

To put that in perspective. Corporate supervisors (earning more than teachers) would be, no doubt, shocked if asked to buy pens, paper, tape and staples to allow their employees to do their jobs.

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