Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Supply Chase

Many teachers are reaching deep into their own pockets to buy items for the classroom, writes the Washington Post:(Use as an easy bypass to registration.)
"Teachers who spend the money, who really care enough about their classrooms to spend the money, are going to be more successful because they have more tools to use and resources to pull from," said Amy Mason, who teaches second grade at Running Brook Elementary School in Columbia.

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. Local educational supply stores said August through early September is their busiest time. Jeff Faw, president of Learning How, said he doubles staffing at the company's seven locations for the back-to-school rush.

At Crown Educational in Centreville on a recent afternoon, Carolyn Frank roamed the aisles in search of flashcards, posters, name tags, pens, pencils, stickers and glue.

"I look for everything," said Frank, a third-grade teacher at Centreville Elementary. "Anything that will add to what the school already gives me."

Teachers said that although schools usually provide basic supplies, they often do not cover such extras as scratch-and-sniff stickers to give to students for a job well done. And teachers also often stock up on supplies for students whose families might not be able to afford to fill their backpacks. The report by the school supply association showed that about 60 percent of teachers' out-of-pocket expenses were for basic school supplies, and that the rest went toward instructional materials.

"Parents sometimes forget that the supplies that they send with [children] at the beginning of the year aren't necessarily going to last until May or June," Mason said.

For years, our California school district has reminded us teachers that it's against the law and district guidelines to ask parents for help with the purchase of any type of supplies or instructional materials for use in the classroom. In fact, the only classroom items that our students are expected to have when they report to school is paper and pencil. Everything else is supposed to be furnished to them by the school.

And we have even been told that we can't require them to bring the paper or the pencil.

Of course the reality is that most teachers in our district spend more than the $458.00 figure given above. If requested before March 1st, (for the following school year) the district can furnish construction paper, scissors, tape, pencils, rulers, Elmers Glue, and a set of the ABCs to go above the chalkboard. That's about it, and teachers who are hired after March 15th simply have to provide everything themselves, as they've missed the deadline!
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