School supply shopping

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Aces, Jul 29, 2018.

  1. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Why shouldn't it be the schools responsibility to provide the items they deem necessary for a student to receive an education since that education is mandated by the state and is supposed to be free? Schools and teachers are deciding on what lessons to teach, not the parents or the students.
     
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  2. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    So let’s see: Poor families now get free educations, free school supplies, free food, subsidized housing, free healthcare, and don’t have to pay federal taxes. Should the state adopt their children, too, because they are paying for just about everything?
     
  3. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Let's see. Everyone is required to obtain an education and the state provides a free education whether the student is rich or poor.

    Should the state take away free education for the rich and require them to pay?
     
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Not so much anymore. Every year schools and teachers losing more autonomy. So much is prescribed now.
     
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  5. TeacherGroupie

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    In fact the California state constitution explicitly states that "the Legislature shall provide" a system of common schools that are free, and has done so since very shortly after it was written in the 19th century. (The phrase "common schools", since the mid-20th century, is generally agreed to refer to schools serving grade 12 and below.)

    A number of cases judged by or settled in the state supreme court have dealt with the implications and scope of this provision of the state constitution; among these cases - which are or should be discussed in credential programs - are Serrano v. Priest (1971), Hartzell v. Connell (1984), Doe v. California (2010), and Williams v. California (2004). The "Williams settlement" draws on the earlier cases in considering the question of whether "free education" includes the whole range of experiences that a well-rounded education should offer: if we agree that a California school should offer art or band or athletic teams or cheerleading or labs that involve expensive equipment or AP Calculus or field trips - and most of us do - then California's constitution as written commits us to the proposition that every student should be able to participate fully irrespective of whether her parents can afford the activity fees or the TI-84 calculator, and without having to seek fee waivers.

    One consequence of these cases, especially Hartzell and Williams, is not that California public schools may not levy participation fees on families in poverty but rather that, except in certain cases, California schools may not levy fees on any student, period. Both the Williams settlement and the need to avoid Williams violations are covered in state-approved credential programs along with IDEA, Title I, Title IX, ESSA, and other legislation and jurisprudence on education.

    It's worth pointing out that California is not unique in having a constitution that mandates free grade-school education, and indeed court cases on the question have begun cropping up in other states. It's prudent to expect the trend to continue and spread.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Thank you, TeacherGroupie. Nice explanation regarding California.
     
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  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Anne D. Gordon delves exhaustively into the history - legislative and judicial, but also general history - of the issue in "California constitutional law: The right to an adequate education" (2016). It can be consulted online here.
     
  8. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I’m saying why stop at free school supplies? They have just about everything else. Why not just make college free, too? Maybe free cars? How about a living stipend?
     
  9. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
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  10. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Well, the rich are paying for themselves and the poor.
     
  11. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I will say this is a beautifully written post and I want to make clear that I think ALL students should receive a free public education regardless of their ability to pay.

    When I was in public schools, and I went to a lot of different schools because I am a part of a military family, graphing calculators were provided by the schools I attended as I sure as heck couldn’t afford one. I thought that was standard across the board. Even in the surrounding public schools where I work, TI-calculators are provided for all students in advanced math classes.

    Also, my fees to apply to colleges were all waived and I only had to pay $5 to take AP tests.

    I just don’t see how $5 here and there (most impoverished students don’t take AP classes or take just a few) and maybe $50/year in school supplies can break a poor family (my parents never made more than $40,000 combined) when they spend more than that on other non-essentials like expensive smartphones and sneakers that cost $250/pair or more.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Because the government doesn't mandate that you drive a car, go to college, etc. They do mandate that all children 5 - 18 attend school or demonstrate that they are being educated.

    You would have a stronger case about free things if your problem wasn't with something the government mandates. My position is that the government requires attendance or demonstration of education under the penalty of fine or jail for the parents. If they are requiring it they should be responsible for the costs - including necessary supplies. If the supplies aren't necessary, why would parents be required to buy them?
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Darn my tax dollars had to pay for a lot of free things for your family!
     
  14. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
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  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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  16. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Actually, my parents refused to accept government services outside of postal, bus transit, and public education. My parents bought all of my school supplies and clothes, they didn’t accept donations, they paid for our health insurance (they hated the idea of Medicare), they bought all of our food (they refused foodstamps), and they paid for all of my field trip expenses. My mother often would get a second part-time job if we needed something extra or had to pay for something unexpected. They don’t believe in government assistance and neither do I outside of the bare minimum. We often did without because they refused help go any kind. All of these things contributed to my relentless pursuit of wealth acquisition.

    My parents always say, “If you can not afford something, then you do without it. If you want something that badly, get a job and if that job doesn’t pay enough then get a second job.” They resent people who abuse the system and people who rely on government for survival if they are able-bodied.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
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  17. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I have no problem with a free public education. I just don’t think it is monetarily crippling to buy school supplies.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  18. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    So you agree with the supplies because your poor parents had to come up with the money for your supplies, except expensive calculators and testing fees.

    Why do you feel it is acceptable for the government to mandate students to school but not pay for what is required to benefit from that education?

    I resent the government mandating something of the citizens and then not providing what is required to access that mandate fully.
     
  19. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I edited my initial post because it did not grammatically make sense to me.

    The Dollar Store has awesome school sales. Walmart, too. Concerning the latter, I see bins there all the time where you can get a TON of school supplies that will last you the year for like $10-15. $10-$15 does not prevent you from receiving a good education.
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Woo hoo, kids don't need to bring supplies because they can get a good education without them.
     
  21. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    My parents were/are similar. I've got five brothers and my mum home schooled us until basically 7/8th grade. We always had everything we needed, and a little bit of what we wanted. If we wanted extra we cut grass did something to earn a wee crumb extra. My parents had six head of youngins to feed and everything and a Sergeant's pay only goes so far. My mum was a seamstress (and still is, actually) and if we absolutely needed extra she'd go to the churches on Sundays to make extra clothes for people.
     
  22. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
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  23. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    The issue with saying that families should always pay is that there are always going to be families who will not pay, and it often falls on the teacher. I do believe that students should come to school with paper, pencils, and a binder, but schools need to find a way to fund supplies for kids who don't bring any.

    I find it appalling that many students are also told to buy tissues, hand sanitizer, and copy paper (and that many teachers buy these items too). The school should provide these items. I was talking to a friend who was telling me how her company would reimburse her if she drove through tolls to get to work. Meanwhile, my mentor teacher had to purchase her own stapler and staples this year.
     
  24. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I've always wondered: with so many individual students/families going out and buying individual supplies: would it perhaps be more cost effective to buy things in bulk? One thing of note is that the poorer family might not have the resources / time to go seek out and find the perfect sales for everything (or really, any family). However, a district working with a supplier or whatnot could probably get items for rather cheap, relative to non-amazing-sales at the stores. It would seem to help reduce the amount of times a teacher has to whine about different types of pencils other than Ticonderoga, too ;)

    And with regards to students who receive free services/whatnot but have a phone or have shoes that might seem like they cost a lot -- I've learned to assume the best intentions in situations, and wait until I know the whole story before I judge.

    To future --> curiosity: do you itemize or anything similar with your taxes (i.e. due to donations made to a charity or using particular space as a working space...)?
     
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  25. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I sure hate the idea of parents working multiple jobs and constantly being away from their children just so that they can afford school supplies. Time is valuable, too, and family time especially so. Maybe our kids would do better in school and in life if their parents were more present, not having to pick up extra shifts in order to afford the basics all the time. I don't mind my tax dollars going to struggling families so that a parent doesn't have to take on a second or third job just to make ends meet.
     
  26. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I still haven't received what I see as a good reason that families should be expected to buy supplies when school attendance is mandatory and dictated by the government. The only two reasons I have really see was my family managed and why should the taxpayers have to buy supplies. First is not why and second is odd since the taxpayer foots the bill for the mandated attendance.
     
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  27. RaiderFan87

    RaiderFan87 Rookie

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    So should they look like a ragamuffin if they qualify for free things? I would never ask students at a "super low SES school" how much their clothes cost!
     
  28. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
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  29. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I donate to various charities ($100 here, $200 there to Shriner’s Children Hospital, ASPCA, Salvation, Good Will, St. Jude, etc.), but it is always less than the standard deduction, so I do not itemize.
     
  30. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I’m not saying they should look dirty and unkempt, but if they can afford an iPhone, Easies, and PacSun backpacks, then they can also afford paper and pencils.
     
  31. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Again - I always prefer to wait to assume until I know the whole picture/story. Plus, one individual does not describe the whole.
     
  32. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I still haven’t found a good reason why students can afford to go local fairs, go with friends to the movies, shop on iTunes frequently, buy video games, etc., but they can’t afford a $0.79 bottle of Purrell and a $1 pack of pencils. You’re right, that’s going to break the bank.
     
  33. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    It’s more than just one individual. It’s many. Not all, of course, but you know it’s a much higher number than that.
     
  34. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Nice deflection. I guess you can't answer my question.
     
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  35. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    All I can say about this conversation is that I'm very glad many of you are not responsible for teaching my students/ my own children.

    I recommend this piece if you can handle some profanity: https://verysmartbrothas.theroot.co...e-wealthy-if-we-stopped-buying-jor-1822521825

    If you can't, try this one: https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2015/01/02/poverty-self-denial-and-new-nikes/

    Or this one: https://www.weareteachers.com/how-people-in-poverty-spend/

    It also reminds me of the falsity that if millennials would just stop buying fancy lattes they'd be able to afford to buy houses. :rolleyes:
     
  36. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Thank you so much for pulling those up.

    One of my core tenants as an educator is the idea of empathy. I don't assume a student who comes in not having done their homework (but also having no after school activities) necessarily chose not to do it because they were lazy. Similarly, I don't assume a student who has a cell phone or a nice shirt but doesn't come in with every single supply the first day necessarily has parents who are just trying to work the system.

    Are there some out there who do? I wouldn't be surprised. But I think that's the case for any kind of system. (Look at: Costco return policy, taxes!, etc...)

    Empathy, in part, means to understand what others are feeling and going through. To understand the whole situation. I won't begrudge a kid or family for something when I don't have that whole picture. And really, I think that's why I have so many positive relationships with families, in which sometimes previous teachers didn't: they immediately jumped into assumptions, instead of seeking to understand. Seeking to find a common ground. Being open to ideas that might not actually match one's own.
     
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  37. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Ditto.
     
  38. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I grew up poor and almost entirely around poor people, so I know exactly how poor families manage.

    It mathematically does it make sense that items that cost close to $0 are unaffordable, even for people making minimum wage. I’m not going to accept that and I’m not going to accept a ridiculous argument that is tantamount to, “Why not?”
     
  39. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    The bottom line is that many families don't provide school supplies for their kids. Can't, won't, it doesn't matter. The end result is the same: kids don't have school supplies.

    Now, I've mentioned here before and in real life how frustrating it is to see free supplies wasted by students. My school gives out school supplies during the first days of school, and many of those supplies end up broken and on the floor within moments of their receipt. It's such a waste and I hate seeing it. To me this wastefulness signals that students don't value education. That's the bottom line there, and that's the part we need to change.
     
  40. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I've always seen this more as a Maslov's hierarchy kind of thing (not exactly...but my best way of explaining it): there's so much else going on in some of their lives, that school, and a silly little pencil, just don't have as much meaning. Part of why I try to make sure, especially for those kids with the more difficult home lives, that school is a place where they feel comforted, happy, enjoying their learning, etc... -- seeing the true value while doing so in such a way that it honors where they're at right now (not saying others don't, by any means, just in case anyone thinks I am!)
     
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