The Teachers' Scrounge

News and comments from the world of public education. A middle school math teacher shared what he learned today.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Where Do YOU Draw the Line on School Supplies??

Today's news story of a school in economic crisis comes from Detroit. An elementary campus there sent home a letter requesting donations of toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, and 60-, 100-, or 150-watt light bulbs. (Well, if they're still using incandescent bulbs, I'm not surprised there's a budget crunch.)

This brings up a great topic for discussion... what supplies is it appropriate for a school to REQUEST, and what supplies is it appropriate for a school to EXPECT?

  • Should every kid provide their own paper and pencil? What about markers and scissors? Kleenex? ZIP-LOC baggies?
  • How specific can we get? Any pack of map colors? 16-colors or more? Two RED folders? (That was a fun one to shop for.)
  • What about brands? My nephew's elementary teacher once demanded a specific brand of colored pencils, and a pair of FISKARS scissors. I know of teachers who insist that students bring Dixon-Ticonderoga pencils. (Yeah, we bought the cheap scissors.)
  • What about classroom or teacher supplies? Can supply lists request dry-erase markers for the board or batteries for calculators?
  • Price limit? In the areas of Texas I live, elementary school supplies were usually $100+, but middle school supply lists were expected to be less than $10.
  • In middle school or high school, should each teacher be allowed to issue their own supply list? Should the department agree on a list? The campus? Are electives allowed their own supply list?
  • What happens if the supplies don't show up? Or run out during the year? (How many of you teachers have called home to say, "XXXX has run out of paper and hasn't had any all week. Can you take care of this over the weekend, please?")
Are supply lists appropriate at all? Should schools bear the entire cost of a "free and public education," or is it proper for parents and students to invest in their education by bringing supplies? Should all schools follow Detroit's example and ask students to bring their own toilet paper?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the ironies is that we don't require kids to supply their own breakfast or lunch, but we do expect them to produce supplies (and often general use supplies, like tissue).

January 26, 2009 at 12:18 PM  

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