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Another Kind of Private Donation

As part of the back-to-school coverage so common this time of year, the Post is recycling the annual story about teachers spending their own money to provide books and equipment for their classrooms.

Our school district is relatively well-funded when it comes to supplies but we still have many teachers who must pay from their own pockets to get the tools and materials they need. Most easily spend more than the $250 allowed as a deduction on federal taxes, some well over $1000 a year.

According to a study by the National School Supply and Equipment Association last year, teachers nationwide spent an average of $458 of their own money on school supplies, said Adrienne Watts, vice president of marketing for the trade group.

I know some people will argue that teachers don’t have to spend this money. But for most of us, it all boils down to having what we need to make the best learning environment for the kids. It’s a matter of professional pride.

This spending, however, is on top of the large amounts of time most teachers "donate" working outside the paid work day. And the expenses many pay for their required continuing training.

It all combines to make the argument by some idiot Washington think-tank analysts that teacher pay is "not bad" a whole lot of crap.


  1. Dan

    In my district if I want to purchase something for my classroom, I have to order it through the school and wait 3-8 weeks. Each year on may different occassions, I find I need something tomorrow or even next week – so I buy it with my own money. Sometimes it markers, other times a book, or even computer software. All for classroom use. If I can anticipate a need there are resources for me to purchase items, but I usually spend well over $250.00 a year – and I’m a high school teacher. Those poor elementary teachers…

  2. Bob Heiny

    What do you suggest as an alternative to teachers buying products they want to use in a class? How would you arrange that alternative?

  3. Tim

    Every teacher should be given an account to purchase classroom supplies beyond the normal paper, pencil, etc. I could see setting up a debit card system with local stores. That would avoid the sometimes long and cumbersome purchasing process in our huge bureaucracy.

    The card would certainly have a cap on the amount but be flexible enough to allow teachers to excercise some creativity in designing their own classroom environment. Which all most of us are trying to do.

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