School supplies -- YIKES

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by bandnerdtx, Aug 5, 2007.

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  1. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I am a Crayola "Gold star teacher" which basically means Crayola gives me $100 to hang out at Wal-Mart on the back to school aisle and help people find school supplies.

    I just completed my 4 hour tour of duty, and I have to tell you, I was SHOCKED at some of the requests of elementary school teachers. In addition to what I would consider the basics (paper, pens, pencils, colored pencils, crayons, markers, glue, ruler, construction paper, folders/notebooks, graph paper, index cards), there were several special items that took the parents by surprise.

    Examples:
    1 fine point yellow dry erase marker (they only come in a set of 4 for $5)
    1 package of Vis a Vis transparency markers (almost $5)
    1 ream of dot matrix printer paper (not available at my Wal-Mart)
    1 50ct packet of white (not manilla) construction paper ($5)
    1 50ct pack of 12x18 construction paper (not available at my Wal-Mart)
    Coloring board ? (we never could figure out what that was)
    3 packages spiral bound note cards

    These items were either very costly or hard to find. Some of these parents had 3 children in elementary school, and they were beside themselves with how they were going to supply all of this. For the parents of low income houses, I'm just not sure it's possible.

    It really set a bad tone for a lot of these parents, and school hasn't even started. They were bitter, angry and frustrated. And of course, they complained about the teachers the entire time.

    I'm wondering if we aren't shooting ourselves in the foot by requiring some of these supplies.

    What do you guys think? Do you think there should be a price limit on what teachers require?

    I teach high school, so I'm lucky if they bring a pen and paper. :p
     
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  3. kabd54

    kabd54 Cohort

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    School supply requests should be basic - pencils, pens, crayons, eraser, ruler, math set (if required), lined paper and/or notebooks as required, scissors, glue.

    The only other thing that I request of parents is a box of tissues - lots of runny noses!

    All those other items that were requested were teacher specific and should not be requested of parents.
     
  4. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Those supplies were on the SCHOOL WIDE (by grade level) supply lists provided by the districts!
     
  5. CarrieB

    CarrieB Companion

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    In one of the school districts in my area, they have the kids bring a "supply fee". They don't have to by individual schools supplies, everything is provided for them. I wish my school would go for that. Then I can get exactly what my kids need. Our entire grade puts out a supply list, but with 3 teachers per subject, our requirements are always different, so I think the kids end up buying more than they need. And the parents get mad when the kids don't use that $10 - $15 trapper keeper.
     
  6. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I think a lot of it depends on where you teach and how much you get for your classroom budget. I know my school requires composition notebooks versus regular spiral notebooks--when each student needs 5 of those, the cost adds up, and as the classroom teacher, I can't afford to supply them for everybody. I do think that most teachers realize not everybody will supply every item on the list, like Vis-a-Vis markers, etc. I think if parents realized how much money we spend to effectively run an elementary classroom each year, out of our own pockets--not the schools, it makes the supply list a little bit more reasonable.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    How'd you manage to get that gig? It sounds neat!

    It's a tough call about the school supply lists. I mean, we always talk about how expensive it is to stock our own supplies if we teach in schools which don't provide very much. Unless we want to spend hundreds or thousands of our own dollars, we have to include those strange extras on supply lists because there's no other way to get them.

    The thing is that lots of those items ARE expensive and difficult to locate. Yellow dry erase markers? Seriously? I just can't imagine that those are central to the learning process in the same way that pencils and erasers are.

    If I purchased all those items, I would probably be looking at spending 30-40 dollars, and that's outrageous! In this type of situation I would absolutely be in favor of a price limit on supply lists.

    I do like the idea of a Wish List on open house night where parents can provide a few of those extra things if they are able to. I requested Kleenex from my students because the stuff the school gives us feels like sandpaper... and I ended up with over 100 boxes! Parents can be very generous, especially when they feel helpful and not obligated. I know that I personally would step up most of the time and bring in a little extra if I was given the option, and I think most people feel the same way.
     
  8. uclalum

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    I am not allowed to give the students a supply list because I teach at a low income school. The worst thing about it is that the school doesn't give the supplies to the kids either!:confused: Only construction paper, regular paper,pencils, and glue.

    But those items that you listed are ridiculous! I laughed when I read what you wrote about the "coloring board":lol:
     
  9. willsgirl

    willsgirl Comrade

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    Good grief! Why should the family supply the teacher (and the school) with these items? The most I can ever remember buying for the classroom (at the elementary level) was Kleenex and if you didn't send any, or the right amount (3 boxes usually), it was no big deal. Living expenses are up, up, up due to the price of petroleum, and I know, if it's hard on me with 2 teenaged sons (one going to college in a week), then it's gotta be murder for low income parents with 2,3 or even 4 kids in elementary school.

    Target had a 10 pack of 70 page spirals (perfed and holes, no less) on sale yesterday for $1 per package of 10!!! I almost bought enough for my students to have for journals but held back -- not because I couldn't afford it -- but because I'm not sure how many I will have and I will be receiving a gift card this week to help with school supplies. They had gobs, so I'll go back later. I supply my jr hi room with colored pencils, markers, glue sticks, scissors, pens, pencils, notebook paper, etc. for group work ( I like to have them illustrate what they read). I may be recycling stuff that my kids had left over from their school days, and I supplement a lot of the materials, but I'm not going to ask my low-income families to buy all of this type of stuff. It's hard enough as it is. All I require is a 1" ring binder, notebook paper, pen, and pencil.
     
  10. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    I did the same thing at my Walmart yesterday. I was amazed at how many teachers asked for 4 Expo markers, 2 highlighters, 2 packages of markers, etc. And a bunch of Kinder teachers asked for Ticonderoga pencils...a lot more expensive than the standard #2 pencils.

    I did feel sorry for parents, too, because the Walmart I was at ran out of notebook paper, folders and pencils by 1 PM. Parents either had to make a trip to another store, or go back today.
     
  11. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    If there is something I'd like to request students buy that is out of the norm- we find money in our budget or I buy it on my own. Maybe the teachers that request these strange/costly items may want to look at their lists again and stick to the basics.

    Let's get creative! Instead of requesting spiral bound index cards-why not punch a hole in them and put them on a ring?

    Anyone ever find out what a coloring board is???
     
  12. MelissainGA

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    I did my "tour of duty" yesterday. I agree with you. Some of the parents supply lists were over a page long, single spaced. I couldn't believe some of the things that they were asking for. One poor lady had brought her grandchildren in and was getting their supplies. I know that there had to have been at least $200 worth of things in there not counting the bookbags. She wasn't the only one that the basket was almost full. One family had 5 kids. You can imagine what they had. That's not including the things we didn't have like the oil pastels for the middle schoolers for art class.

    Our county did a "county wide" supply list. The only problem I had was I had hoped that he would ask for input from teachers. If he had there were 4 things on the list he could have left off (we don't use them) and he could have sustituted the correct type of binder and still saved the parent money.

    I think it would be much wiser to have the school buy the supplies and then the parents get them through the school. Would save a lot of "confusion".

    I just went and bought most of the things that I actually did need in a class set. That way I know that we will have them. I did put up a "wish tree" and several parents sent in items like hand sanitizer, extra pencils, and colored copy paper for our newsletters that wasn't on the county list.
     
  13. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Cassie, I saw information about the Crayola gig:D in April on teachers.net. I signed up then because the slots fill quickly! I'm lucky to live in a big city, so there are lots of Walmarts. The people who live in smaller communities have a lot more competition for those slots.

    Go to their website, though, and check it out: Gold Star Teacher
     
  14. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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  15. Brendan

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    That is rediculous! All I require my kids to have is a binder (1.5 inch recommened, but a 1 inch is fine), 20 sheet protectors (I know this sounds expensive, but it is neccessary for my class) and loose-leaf paper (I prefer them to have 8.5 by 11 sized paper, but if they do not it is no big deal.
     
  16. cutNglue

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    Before I knew anything about education and I was shocked by how much I had to pay for real estate taxes, I got quite peeved when my oldest was in Kinder and they asked for expo markers. Like the above post, it was ONE and they came in a package. I didn't buy it. I felt like I paid my taxes for that school and I was only buying things on the list that were disposable and used directly by the students. There were a few other things. I would not have bought anything on that list but not because I couldn't afford it. I would have been mad as a tax paying parent to be supplying teacher supplies.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    To be fair about the dry erase markers...

    I put those on my required materials list also, but they're not for my use. They're for the students to use when we do whiteboard activities (which happens once or twice per week).
     
  18. cutNglue

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    I pretty much get everything on my list now that I understand teachers supply so much out of pocket. I'm saying as a new parent that was soooo not my perspective. You don't have to convince me now.
     
  19. brigidy

    brigidy Comrade

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    I agree about the ridiculous supply lists. The school my nephews attend have a supply list that is a page long -PLUS a $20 room fee! I am surprised they didn't need to bring their own toilet paper. What about parents that maybe have more than one child in that school?
    Like another poster, I teach in a low income area and we don't send home supply lists. I can go to Wal-Mart buy some paper, pencils and crayons and easily teach my class. I don't need the gallon and quart ziploc bags on the list to be a good teacher.
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Got it! :)

    I think you're right, though. People who aren't teachers really don't get what it's like to do what we have to do with such limited resources. I feel bad for the parents whom I have to ask to purchase all these supplies, but I know that it's sometimes the only option.

    I think it helps to explain why you need some of those specialized items so that parents can know that it's not meant to restock the teacher's personal supplies.
     
  21. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I can't imagine how Gold Star teachers don't get mobbed in the school supply aisles at Walmart! I was at two different Walmarts yesterday (long story), and both school supply sections looked like bombs had gone off, and people were climbing over each other to get what was left! I did hear some parental griping -- they were shocked that the teachers had requested cleaning supplies (hand sanitizer, paper towels, and Lysol) which, according to this parent, were the province of the school janitor.

    Brandon, in high school, the supplies are fewer and more personalized than in elementary. I never had a year when my daughter was in elementary school in which we spent less than $30, plus a backpack and uniforms. There were occasionally strange things on the lists. We would get asked for one Vis-a-vis marker, when they come in 2-packs, or a specific color 3-prong folder or a weird size of manila paper. The most expensive single item I ever had to buy my daughter came in high school, though -- a scientific calculator for math. That set me back by $97 -- ouch.
     
  22. TeacherGrl7

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    Just curious, do you feel differently now that you are on the other side of it? I just wish the general public had a clue what we spend that those tax dollars just don't give us. I agree that a lot of the supply lists are utterly ridiculous, and I try crazy hard to keep mine simple and basic and as cheap as possible, but there's just no way to get through school without somebody getting supplies for the kids.
     
  23. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I'm not sure I would have bought the $97 calculator even now. A trumpet for band I can understand because it is an elective I choose for my child to be in, but a math class...umm...that's a little sticky to me. Right now my most expensive item is PE uniform which I have not bought yet. I know that I'm gonna want more than one because nothing ever gets washed on time in our house. Plus I'm not sure exactly what they are wanting. I'll figure it out.

    My other son got everything on his list from the penny and 5 cent sales we had going except kleenex and a backpack. Oh..I paid 10 cents for glue.
     
  24. dolphinswim

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    I am embarrassed!

    I did not make my grade levels supply list but did glance at it and think it was okay(I did not want to cause any more problems with my team) Needless to say, the boys list is approx. $30.00 while the girls list is approx. $38.00. That is just for supplies the other teachers had to have: colored pencils, markers, large bottles of germ X, Lysol wipes, baby wipes, playdoh, baggies, tissue, scissors, glue. I only need Lysol wipes, baby wipes, tissue and crayons. The students are also asked to pay a $15.00 fee for the year and supply snacks at least once a month! I am just embarrassed at the cost for free education! Another teacher and I decided that most things can be bought with our classroom money or the $15.00 fee we collect from the kids, that is way too much money for some parents to pay for their child to attend school!
     
  25. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I do feel much differently. I still wouldn't buy a $97 calculator for math though. I would have quibbled over the list in the first post such as a yellow fine tip expo marker, but for most supplies I don't feel the same way I used to especially since it is kept to a minimum. Now I DONATE if I get a lot of something for cheap. :)
     
  26. TeacherGrl7

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    What I love about my program is that it's 100% free Pre-K. Preschool is so expensive that all of my parents know what a steal they are getting. This works for me because it makes them oh-so-generous!! I didn't have a wish list last year (I got hired a week before school started, my director made our supply list, and I had to go along with it) but I did ask for certain things throughout the year and I was always overwhelmed with what I got. I agree that parents are more likely to buy stuff if they think they're being helpful and not obligated.
     
  27. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I am confused -- exactly why are the boys' and the girls' lists different? That would definitely punch some buttons around here!
     
  28. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I might be wrong here, but I think it's to avoid getting too much of a particular item. Teachers break the list in half (and gender is an easy dividing line) and assign boys to bring in quart Ziplock bags, while girls are assigned gallon Ziplock bags. The same thing goes for hand sanitizer, baby wipes, etc.
     
  29. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Oh, okay -- I've never seen it done that way! Of course, there are many, many things I have never seen, lol.
     
  30. little317

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    Here is our grade level supply list. I think it's pretty basic.
    1 pack of markers

    1 4fl oz bottle school glue, 2 boxes 16 or 24 count crayons, 6 Glue sticks, 1 box tissues, 1 bottle hand sanitizer, pencils, 1 container baby wipes.

    I like my kids to have a composition book for journaling, but I buy those when they go on sale. At the end of the year, each kid keeps it. Parents loved that last year.
     
  31. La Profesora

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    I can't imagine having several kids, then spending 50 or more dollars on supplies PER KID and clothes and shoes....

    I too teach high school so I'm lucky for them to show up with a pen. I require a three ring binder, and after school lets out each year and the janitors are throwing everything away, I follow behind them like a little piggy and take all the stuff they would have just pitched. I have hundreds of used three ring binders which I offer to all my kids (I even tell them to take two, one for my class and one for their others if they so desire). I also have lots of pens and pencils.

    Hey, ain't too proud to beg :)
     
  32. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I guess that's kinda why I started this thread, La Profesora, because I can't imagine it either, and my DH and I make a decent living.

    I saw parents today nearly in tears over the whole thing, and it broke my heart.

    I think the teachers in the district/team/building need to sit down and really calculate their lists and keep some sort of cap on the price. I can understand $25-30, but beyond that... I'd find it hard to rationalize that, especially with low SEC families.
     
  33. mommy3boys

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    I'm a single parent, with 3 small boys, one starting 2nd and one starting kinder, the last is in daycare. I was greatful when they started school because to me it meant not as much daycare. I would buy as much as I could from the small, reasonable list I was given. It was a request not a must. My boys go to a small school in a small school district and the community is very low income. Anyway now that I'm on the other end and realize how much teacher spend out of their pockets I'll do my best to give more when I can.

    I might have to sell a kidney when I start teaching and have 3 boys in school:(
     
  34. USMCTCHR

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    I have four kids, all in school and it can add up. I was a little shocked at our list this year..."6" spiral bound notebooks! Plus paper, two different sizes of ziploc bags, dry-erase markers, binders, etc. (I know one school and grade-level is asking the students to by a small thumb-drive). After buying my middle school daughter's supplies, I have been told that EACH teacher will have a short list they will get on the first day of school.

    Right now, because this is my first year teaching, we live on my husband's income. And because I do have four kids, I don't run all over trying to find the best deals. We usually go to Wal-mart, get what we need and are done with it. It can add up, but it's not "that" much. I am the parent that is constantly sending in supplies like paper, hand sanitizer, pencils, tissues, etc. It is a little irritating to know that I send in supplies constantly and to get a note stating that supplies are low and to send more in. (Community sharing...where only some of the parents send things in and the others know their kids will be supplied somehow.)

    Also, for my kids, we had to send in snacks for the class monthly. I would MUCH rather have sent my child with a snack daily because again, only a few parents would do it and we ended up supplying snacks a LOT. (Which DOES get costly.)

    I do see why teachers use community supplies, but as someone mentioned in another post...if I buy my kids special supplies, I want them to use them!

    As a teacher, I bought extra everything and plan to try to keep the basics stocked. (But, may change my mind if it gets too costly.) Sorry! I feel like I rambled on forever and really didn't say much! :rolleyes:
     
  35. ITeach4Him

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    The school I worked at last year had my students bring paper towels, Kleenex and dry erase markers as well as headphones for the computers! I was shocked!

    We did not use the paper towels (I taught older kids, no messes there!). The dry erase markers were for me to use on the board (my school provided NOTHING!) but I had way too many left over at the end of the year. The headphones were NEVER used because the school went ahead and bought them for the computer labs. I felt bad for the parents that had wasted money!

    As for me personally, one of my son's teachers had him bring a dozen Red Pencils one year on the school list. That equaled about 240 red pencils for her!!! At the end of the year, she sent most of them home, but what can we do with Red Pencils! I remembered being shocked that it was on the list so she could "bleed" all over my own child's work! ;)
     
  36. jmevno

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    In my county we are to limit our supply list to $20 and we are not allowed to ask for what they call "cleaning supplies" (i.e wipes, kleenex, hand sanitizer). My supply list is a half sheet using 14 type font the other half is "optional items" and I always say that these are items that we will use through out the year. If you have them and are able to send them in please do.

    My brother had a daughter in K last year (different state) and her list cost him almost $50. He called me when he got to see if he really need to buy all this stuff. For nap they had to have a $20 nap mat that only came for a special store and they had to buy the student workbooks (yes they gave a textbook store for elem students). There was the expo markers, copy paper, and some other things. I tried to explain to him that it was probably not for teacher use but for the kids as well. But having to buy a special mat and textbook I thought was ridiculous.
     
  37. BRS

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    This year, our school has really restricted our supply list. Our list was cut - for example we could only ask for one box of EITHER crayons or colored pencils, not both. We typically ask the students to bring in two of each because by mid year, the first box is used up or lost. Nonetheless, Wal-Mart has crayons for 20 cents ... Office Depot had them on sale for 9 cents a box --- come on now! You can't get cheaper than that!

    Parents in our community have been complaining about having to purchase things like Kleenex or paper towels. On our newspaper forum, a parent posted "Why do I need to buy Kleenex for my child's classroom?" Ummm ... because kids get sick and need someplace to dispose of their snot .... why else?!

    Let me also state that my school is in a fairly wealthy area ...
     
  38. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    From both a parent and teacher perspective, I can see the reasoning behind asking for extras. With school budgets paying for less and less each year, it sometimes requires teachers to add it to school supply lists. Just this year our team had to cut $1,000 from our budget and that meant doing without 3 supplemental books we use to teach just so we could order construction paper and writing papers. As a parent, I don't mind getting extras for my son so he can do what he needs to do at school. I am not saying I agree with it, but I can see both sides.
     
  39. KDS

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    i get most of what is on my son's Kinder list...except white paper lunch bags...i have no idea where to start looking for them

    so LUCKY for me my hubby is a HS teacher, so we usually buy stuff in bulk to last him through the year...so we are just using Kinder list for HS...LOL
     
  40. paperheart

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    Aug 6, 2007

    I guess I am part of the minority opinion in that I feel the parents SHOULD be responsible for many of the consumables their child uses at school or the teacher needs to teach them.

    I teach at a 99% poverty rate school. With that being said, only a small percentage (and definitely less than half) wouldn't be able to afford, say, $25 worth of supplies per child. I say that because half of my students have very decent cars, iPods, designer clothing, designer shoes, cell phones, etc. They value those items enough to find money for them. There is just no excuse for not finding the money. How is that all these Staples, Walmart, and Office Depot sales are frequented by teachers and very few parents (in my area that is the overwhelming truth)? I am running around spending money I don't have on other parents' kids just so my classroom can run smoothly. That is not right.

    As a middle class household on one teacher salary and a husband in college classes as well, I would find it perfectly reasonable to spend $50-$60 for school supplies per child. I mean, c'mon! Most families spend $50/month on fast food, movies, dinners out (not me, but that is about the national average). Which is more important--fast food dinners or financing a child's otherwise free education?? Families have all year to save for the expense.

    With that being said, I think it is unfair and unwise for teachers or schools to put items on the list that they really aren't going to use. In my school, the parents get a general list that includes a binder and a red folder for math---two items most math teachers at my school don't really want their students to have. That is wasteful.
     
  41. tutor1982

    tutor1982 Rookie

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    Aug 6, 2007

    I agree that parents should be able to come up with the money for their own consumable supplies seeing as they are dressed in designer clothes and have the latest toys, but in my community (85-90% poverty) education is not valued. These are not the days we grew up in where the teacher's story was always taken over the students - parents side with their kids now and think the teacher is an idiot.

    Sadly, the teachers have to teach the value of education because many just don't see it.

    If I had a list that asked for dry erase markers for student use I may be more apt to buy them. I would also probably buy most anything on the optional list (at least at some point in the fall if not for the first day of school) because I like to be helpful. I do not like being told that I have to supply the teacher with her supplies. If I understand how my child will be using the items I will probably be more willing to purchase them.
     
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