What’s next on back-to-school supply lists? Mops and floor polish?

Now, back-to-school supply shopping can be a costly event. (AP Images)

Now, back-to-school supply shopping can be a costly event. (AP Images)

Given the number of cleaning products showing up on back-to-school school supply lists, a friend jokes that she expects to see mops, brooms and floor polish next.

Over the years, I’ve seen school supply lists go well beyond pencils, paper and glue to paper towels, Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer.

As the number of items on back-to-school lists have increased, so have complaints about them.

As a reader said in a note to me:

My friends are complaining the lists are very costly and they are being asked to buy multiples of items such a scissors. Are schools asking more of parents, are fewer parents sending supplies or are parents just more strapped for cash? I’ve just never seen so much chatter and my complaining friends live in the most affluent county in the state. I wonder if the lists are affecting families in other areas even more. Do parents become detached when they can’t even fill the first requests of the school?

On my neighborhood listserv, I learned that my local elementary school has adopted what News/Talk WSB personality and AJC columnist Neal Boortz derides as a conspiracy to inculcate children with a tolerance of government control of property rights: The teacher puts all school supplies into a common pool used by all students. (As one parent commented: “In other words, don’t buy your child the Spiderman folder; he’s not going to be able to use it.”)

This wasn’t the case when my four children went through elementary school. (And they attended at a time when the percentage of low-income students in the school was higher than it is today.) Yes, we bought tissues, paper towels, Ziplock bags and hand sanitizer to share, but kids kept their own folders, markers and pencils.

With all the financial challenges facing schools today, I am not going to quibble about back-to-school supply lists. I dutifully go out and buy everything that’s listed, even though I’ve found that some stuff never gets used. (I still have some two pocket/pronged folders and six pocket dividers with tabs sitting around.)

But the ever expanding lists have become a point of contention among some parents.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

178 comments Add your comment

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

July 28th, 2011
4:04 am

Do Japanese students still clean their schools?

God Bless the Teacher!

July 28th, 2011
6:09 am

The contributor indicates “her friends” live in the most affluent county in the state. Go figure. These are probably the same types who want representation without taxation and are the first to complain about the teacher if their child who has “always made A’s” suddenly makes a B in an honors or AP class in which the child is still trying to perform at the regular class level. Haves and Have Nots…it won’t ever change. I’d love to be a fly on the wall when these “friends” have to pay all of the required fees and buy all of the required but rarely used textbooks when their preciouses go to college!

Lib In Cobb

July 28th, 2011
6:13 am

To all parents in all schools. The requirement for you to supply these items is not the idea of the teacher. When you bring your child to school, don’t bitch out the teacher. The classrooms are underfunded by the school districts, that is why your supply list gets longer. Parents please keep in mind that most teachers are spending more than you are for needed supplies. My wife teaches, she has averaged $1,200 per year in out of pocket expenditures for supplies not provided by the school, for the past ten years, while her income has decreased. Parents if you are asked to supply specific items for a specific project, JUST DO IT, especially those parents who can easily afford it. To the parents who drive the brand new luxury car every three years, you and not all of you can be the worst offenders.

MiltonMan

July 28th, 2011
6:39 am

GBTT – typical liberal feeding off of class envy.

We went through that garbage about a “supply list” that included a 3-hole punch, calculator, etc. I called the school & talked to the principal about all of these “unnecessary” required items which we had in abundance at home. He first intially stated that our children could not bring a calculator to school. I called him out on that & a new supply list was sent without these items.

Pay all the required fees??? HOPE did that for us when the kids were undergrads; now scholarships pay for their medical school training. Chaps you GBTT that they will soon be considered “haves”???

Sk8ing Momma

July 28th, 2011
6:52 am

IMO, now is not the time to complain. The time is to complain when one votes for a school board member. IMO, this is a reflection of a misappropriation of budgeting. There is no reason why schools aren’t properly funded such that a school’s budget includes adequate school supplies for its students. School supplies should not be a teacher’s expense. Non-supplies (ex. tissue, hand sanitizer etc.) should not be a parent’s expense. Funds for supplies should come out of taxes already collected. The budget is what it is…Make it happen! I am NOT one for a tax increase…I’m for responsible budgeting. Households have to do it; our governmental entities should have to do it, too. Making difficult choices is part of life.

ITK

July 28th, 2011
6:59 am

My kids’ elementary school started the “write a $30.00 check to the PTA and they’ll get the teachers all the supplies they need” system a couple of years ago, and I LOVE it. What a break for parents! No having to go into a busy store and shop for a list of supplies. Furthermore, I know that my child’s teachers can get supplies as they need them throughout the year–teachers don’t always know before school starts what needs will crop up later on. Are people really implying that they’d rather go out and hand-pick $30.00 worth of supplies on their own? And if people realized how many instructional (and parent work days) are lost because of sick kids passing germs to one another maybe they’d lighten up on griping about Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer.

@ Dr. Spinks: I visited Japanese schools for three weeks in 2001 and witnessed the breaks where students stopped their coursework and divided up duties to clean their own schools. The schools were immaculate, the children took pride in the work, and they seemed to obviously enjoy the time spent working and talking with peers while music played over the PA system. I thought it was great!

S GA Teacher

July 28th, 2011
7:02 am

To Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta
Yes, the children in Japan still do clean their room or were 5 years ago when I was there. Thanks for the smile. I haven’t thought of that in some time.

NWGA Teacher

July 28th, 2011
7:06 am

As class sizes grow, there is less and less storage space for individual items. In some classrooms, there is no space for kids’ backpacks. It can take five or more minutes from a lesson if every student has to find a backpack and retrieve particular items, then put them away at the end of the lesson. Transition is much simpler when supplies are kept in a central area for quick distribution.

Most schools provide nothing. There is no supply budget. Many students bring no supplies at all, ever. Some of my students have no books, pencils, or paper at home. I’ve had students ask to take home paper and a pencil so they can do homework. Ever tried to keep 30 kids supplied with almost everything they’ll need in school? Theft is rampant; if a student leaves a pencil unattended, it’s gone. Last year, a local church gave some supplies to my school. We felt very lucky.

Custodial staffs are smaller and can do less. Teachers clean their own rooms, particularly desks, chairs, and tables, every day. Paper towels, cleaners, and Clorox wipes are not provided by the school, and they add up.

Teachers are well aware that the cost of supplies has skyrocketed. We can’t buy them, either.

JoDeeMcD

July 28th, 2011
7:35 am

Last year, my school provided $25 for me to supply my middle school classroom for the year. I spent my pennies as well as I could, but I still ended up buying tissues during allergy season because the few boxes that were donated at the beginning of the year ran out during cold and flu season.

The guy in the classroom next to mine never puts cleaning supplies on his list—-he never cleans his room! The custodians only clean the floors and empty the trash, so if a teacher wants his or her room to meet minimal standards of health and cleanliness, it isn’t done on the school’s dollar. I can’t stand dust and dirt and grime everywhere, so I ask for donations, and fill in the gaps myself.

As for the paper school supplies like index cards and folders—-kids waste incredible amounts of paper and other “disposable” supplies. I am working toward a paperless classroom using the technology available to us to avoid the waste, improve organization, and move my students into the future.

I suggested a USB drive on my supply list—–and no folders with prongs.

Catlady

July 28th, 2011
7:36 am

Geeze do you think teachers like to ask for these things? I quit buying them years ago. We use the thin TP from the school to wipe noses. The desks go uncleaned unless we have vomit. I make paper envelopes to put lost teeth in to go home for tge Tooth Fairy. I use the first aid box provided by the school although it is lacking. I never ask kids to share their stuff–many do anyway but I pick up dropped pencils in the hall and keep them in the pencil orphanage in case of emergency.

www.honeyfern.org

July 28th, 2011
7:42 am

I run a school out of my home and only ask that kids bring a laptop if they have one (if not, we provide one for use). That’s it. It’s part of tuition. I think the school supply lists have gotten long, but a cursory glance at sale flyers shows that most lists can be completed for $20. I bought 200 pencils for a quarter last week, and 20 folders for the same price. Lysol wipes are on sale for $2, and hand sanitizer can be bought for $1. Tissues – $1 at Kroger. Flash drives were $5 (4GB) last week. Shop sales, don’t wait until the last minute, and for the basics just get plain stuff.

I clean my own home, and it does not break the bank to do so, and I don’t ask the kids to chip in (although I do make them clean up the kitchen when they are done with lunch, and clean up after themselves, as the custodial staff is often doing other things.:). Teachers in public schools should not have to buy all of their supplies, and schools have stopped giving yearly classroom allowances. I asked people to bring an extra whatever if they could, but it was not required, and supplies were not pooled (except tissues). I don’t understand the animosity, though. Adults can be leeches and feed off the system, but in the end, if a kid comes to school without a pencil, can’t we just get him a pencil so s/he can learn? IMO, lack of school supplies in schools is a symptom, not the disease!!

www.honeyfern.org

July 28th, 2011
7:45 am

Catlady, I had a pencil orphanage, too, only it was the short pencil orphanage. When I found a kid using a pencil that was ridiculously short, I took it and put it in the short pencil orphanage. At the end of the year, kids could write a letter to the Director of the Orphanage (me) to adopt one of the pencils. The best letters got the pencils, and sometimes there was hot competition for them (like the pencil that was literally ony a point and the metal part that holds the eraser). They name them, pick them out in January, try to get their pencil in there (I discourage that). It was pretty funny.

atlmom

July 28th, 2011
8:02 am

My husband and I think it is quite absurd. We are very frustrated by the whole system. If we don’t send in wipes, the teacher has to get them – same for tissues, etc.
But we shouldn’t have to!
I get the supply stuff on the list, and if the teacher asks, I will sometimes send in other items.
We also label EVERY SINGLE ITEM with the children’s names. We don’t get this ‘ community’ crap. it’s disgusting, really. I am talking about every crayon and every pencil – EVERYTHING gets labelled.
The whole system is totally broken. and this is another symptom.
I was supposed to get 24 glue sticks. really. i have bought 12 and the kids are going to deal with it.
same with other kinds of stuff.

mift

July 28th, 2011
8:06 am

My wife spent $2000 last year on her babies in her classroom. I believe the folks complaining are also the same people complaining about higher taxes. You cannot have it both ways. Fund schools appropriately and supply some of the tools needed for learning via a school supply list.

A Conservative Voice

July 28th, 2011
8:14 am

@ITK

July 28th, 2011
6:59 am
My kids’ elementary school started the “write a $30.00 check to the PTA and they’ll get the teachers all the supplies they need” system a couple of years ago, and I LOVE it. What a break for parents!

To ITK – You’re lazy and are part of the problem. Don’t you even realize what you’re doing amounts to taxation? It’s also “Income re-distribution” because I’m sure that all do not contribute to the fund but every child receives benefits. C’mon……..

Parenting2

July 28th, 2011
8:20 am

I buy the “extra” stuff on the list because I know if I don’t, the poor teacher has to come out of pocket for the items. That being said, I think its unfair that I have to do it and that teachers have to come out of pocket so much for things they need in the classroom. I blame bad budgeting and some trifling parents not doing their fair share. I am sure there are more than a few parents sitting around, feeling like they are getting over not having to buy a .97 pack of pencils or .25 box of crayons (Walmart prices as of yesterday) because some other parent, or the teacher or the school will make sure they have it. And let’s not blame the economy. Most school supplies this time of year are pretty cheap, with the exception of paper, which is always pricey. And if people can afford their weaves, acrylics, all red Georgia outfits from same Walmart they sell the school supplies, their booze and their Internet access so they can play games on Facebook, they can afford a few supplies for their kids for school.

Leigh

July 28th, 2011
8:24 am

As a teacher, I do NOT do communal supplies. Each child has their own pencil box with their crayons, pencils, and glue in it. I do label their scissors and keep them in one big container. They are Kindergarteners, so it’s usually good to take the scissors on the first day of school! All of their other extras go in a large ziplock bag labeled with their name. This goes in my closet. If they need more supplies, I can get it for them. If they run out, I let the parents know. Also, any extras go home at the end of the year.

As a parent, I bought the basic supplies on the list. I plan on telling the teacher to let me know when she is running out of hand sanitizer, wipes, etc and I will send some in. I am going to only send in what is needed. If my son needs more crayons or pencils, he can let me know and I will send them in. Both my boys (age 6 and 8) are old enough to keep track of their own things. Also, my children’s supplies will be labeled.

Leigh

July 28th, 2011
8:26 am

Hmm…that 8) was supposed to be an 8 lol!

Parenting2

July 28th, 2011
8:26 am

Also, if I knew the money was being handled correctly, I would gladly pay a little more in taxes to make sure teachers didn’t have to come out of pocket for supplies. What are they doing with this money that the poor teachers can’t have hand sanitizer???

sloboffthestreet

July 28th, 2011
8:26 am

It dosen’t take an accountant to add up the numbers and see there is a problem. What I never see is a solution. I have suggested co-op buying for school supplies and all it receives is a comment along the lines of “That might work.” I bought the large 4 pack of Clorox wipes at Sams last week for $10. It contains 312 wipes. Expo markers and erasers are also the best buy and they sell the big pack. They also sell the 10 box pack, 200 count Kleenex tissue for $12. I send 2 boxes per student at the start of the year and 1 box every time one of our kids has a sniffle. Crayons, pencils, paper along with countless other items are very inexpensive this time of year. One donation from parents at the end of the school year, not at the beginning of the next one, would provide all items necessary to stock every classroom for the entire year. I am certain we as parents would be happy to spend a few hours on the computer to search out the best price and provide transportation to purchase the items and deliver them to the schools. Well, I know I am. If administrators and teachers would spend a small amount of time during the last in service days this could be all done before school starts with items delivered on perhaps the Saturday before in service starts for the upcoming year. This way the classrooms would be stocked and teachers could have the time to speak with parents and address the upcoming year with proper communication between teachers & parents and for once, all would be right with the world. I watch teachers being overwhelmed at the first part of the year trying to find space and having to sort through bag after bag. Only teachers can stop the insanity. $30 a year per student should be sufficent to provide everything any teacher & student needs to see them through the year. What many fail to get for their dollar these days is VALUE! This would be a very good lesson for the kids to start the school year and give the teacher the time for the important stuff, like teaching!! Any thoughts?

ali

July 28th, 2011
8:32 am

This year I spent $62 for my daughter’s supplies and most of it being for cleaning supplies. I spent the least on pencils, markers, crayons, scissors, wide-ruled paper and so forth…but most of the cost was for Klennex, Lysol wipes, Band-Aids, Ziploc bags, hand soap and hand sanitizer! The supply list also request specific brands of the aforementioned items. My school also operates with a community methodology, which I’m not fond of. It simply results in some parents carrying the burden of those parents who don’t buy school supplies. This year, they requested 20 glue sticks…the large variety – I seriously doubt my daughter will go through 20 large glue sticks in one year. I bought 10.

Parenting2

July 28th, 2011
8:37 am

Slob, you make some good points. And as you pointed out, it all circles back to the poor planning and poor budgeting of the schools and some of the parents and teachers. If they handled the money correctly from jump, they could easily see where they might be short and then the lists wouldn’t be so extensive. The parents would have no issues supplying things in that case. And maybe at the same time, it would put those parents who think they are getting something for nothing on notice – you can send your kid to school with no supplies if you want to, but this is what we have and your kid might be without. So plan accordingly as well. This would teach an important lesson as well.

Dr NO

July 28th, 2011
8:37 am

If the childs PARENTS provide zero supplies then said child can sit there and receive F’s and zero.

For those of you supplying the other kids materials…SUCKERS!!!

Parenting2

July 28th, 2011
8:39 am

Dr. No: Can you not read the other comments? Even when you just buy stuff for your kid and label it, more than likely it goes in the community box. The trifling parent gets over anyway. And the teacher comes out of pocket too.

hssped

July 28th, 2011
8:40 am

I pick up dropped pencils in the hallway, keep a box of recycled paper (if only one side is printed then the other side is used) and the kids use toilet paper to blow their noses. Waste not; want not.

atlmom

July 28th, 2011
8:44 am

for all those people who say: oh, people don’t want higher taxes, but they also don’t want to buy school supplies…
For some schools, they get federal funding for 1/2 the school budget. For the other (non title 1) schools – who do you think provides that 1/2?
If you get rid of at least 50% of the administrators, there would be plenty of money. the thing is that the bloatedness at the top is what keeps them in business.
I would have ABSOLUTELY no problem being asked for a donation to help out those kids who don’t have the school supplies. but to assume that I will just provide for others? That’s a terrible misuse of the system.

Maureen Downey

July 28th, 2011
8:45 am

@Slob, I love the idea of just paying $30 as it normally requires going to more than one store to get all the stuff on the list because the Walmart down the road from me may be sold out of wide-rule paper so then I go to the Target four miles away, which may be sold out of glue sticks. I have never found every item on the list at a single store.
Maureen

Parenting2

July 28th, 2011
8:48 am

I like the $30 idea too. I would even pay the $5.00 fee for PTA on top of that. But I don’t expect to then buy my kid separate supplies. Proper planning and thinking for a change instead of reacting.

YES

July 28th, 2011
8:48 am

“If the childs PARENTS provide zero supplies then said child can sit there and receive F’s and zero.”

So, you’re saying we should punish children because of the actions of adults? Do you really believe this?

Parenting2

July 28th, 2011
8:54 am

YES: Let’s not focus on that particular comment, but there is a solution to this problem: Every year on the news I see several charities here in metro ATL that give out free bookbags and supplies for kids whose parents don’t have the cash. And some truly don’t. Also, I see grocery stores doing supply donations, etc., and I give to those. But more than not, there are alot of parents who feel they don’t need to spend the money on these things because they just expect the school or the teacher to take care of it. If they knew their kid might be sitting in class without the supplies they needed because we all just said, this is what we are able to do and we can’t do anything else, believe me, the kid would come to school with supplies.

oldtimer

July 28th, 2011
8:54 am

Many parents will not buy any supplies. Under GA law they are not required to buy anything. The last 5 years in CC a few children brought in everything and these parents always sent more. Some teachers even gave extra credit for bringing supplies. I, too, did all I could to shop all summer to buy the cheapest supplies. Kids who would not share would be picked on. I actually had parents tell me if I wanted their child to do my assignments, I could provide supplies….and Idid it because the administration did not believe that children and parents “failed themselves”.

itsmyjob

July 28th, 2011
8:56 am

I use community pencils and crayons for 2 reasons: do not have time to deal with kids fighting over whose pencil is whose, and it is just a pencil, is sharing that hard? I will be purchasing for my classroom this year-a new broom (last yrs was stolen), plug in air freshener (last yrs was stolen the first week of school), feather duster, carpet sweeper and canned air for the computers. I also keep a bag of socks for the kids who come in the winter without any. It is my job and what I do. Please buy the folders and glue sticks. Please

itsmyjob

July 28th, 2011
8:57 am

oh and a vertical fan because our 40yr plus air conditioning breaks a lot!

Parenting2

July 28th, 2011
9:00 am

Oldtimer: And that is the trifling stuff I was talking about….

Georgia

July 28th, 2011
9:04 am

When our child started kindergarten, she took so much pride in getting her supplies together and then she was heartbroken (and we were ticked) that those supplies were ‘community’ supplies. What upset us was that this ‘community’ idea was not explained beforehand. Now, if we see multi-packs of stuff, then we buy the extras for the classroom and home. Also, we noticed that several of the families that could afford the supplies didn’t buy them because they didn’t need to. They let everyone else supply the items for their child. That is the real issue. If kids need the supplies, I am happy to help but when the parents refuse to buy the supplies because they know they can feed of the other parents, that is what makes me angry.

Philosopher

July 28th, 2011
9:10 am

I don’t mind supplying paper, extra pencisl and supplies for kids who really need help-or tissues and antibacterial stuff- but…here’s the frustrating part- In kindergarten, the kids want the cute stuff- can you blame them- so you buy them a few of the “special” things-to make their start a happy one.and then you trot them off to school, where unbeknownst to first time parents, all that stuff is taken up and put in the general supply-so your kid doesn’t even get to use the “special” stuff you bought…didn’t happen twice, though-I learned. In addition, in middle and highschool, you CAN”T get a list of supplies the kids need-until the day they start…so you can’t take advantage of sales and you are forced to run out after you get off work that night, join the melee of other frantic parents, only to find that the important things are out of stock and now you HAVE to buy them at the more expensive stores…downright inconsiderate, rude, and thoughtless!! And every teacher wants something different! The supplies that REALLY make me mad are the colored pens for the teachers to use to grade papers…they can just buy their own…I don’t ask my patients to buy me a stethoscope, now do I??!!

Parenting2

July 28th, 2011
9:13 am

I buy the plain stuff for school and keep the “cute” stuff for my kid to use at home. I found out about that community stuff in kindergarten too. I never did that in school and I found it odd. Now I know it is to help out people who can afford supplies, but just choose not to buy them. This burns me up so…

God Bless the Teacher!

July 28th, 2011
9:14 am

@MiltonMan…you and Wondering Allowed (see yesterday’s blog) must be neighbors. I hope your offspring “haves” are more compassionate with the “have nots” they’ll encounter as doctors than you seem to be (based on comments you’ve posted in past blogs).

God Bless the Teacher!

July 28th, 2011
9:17 am

Most of the posts sound like issues at the ES level. Our school is very clear than none of the suggested supplies are required (e.g., calculators), but coming unprepared to class as many HS students do only prevents them from being engaged in learning at the bell and prevents the teacher from beginning class due to distributing supplies to the unprepared.

Parenting2

July 28th, 2011
9:22 am

And at a certain age at the high school level, the kids can get these things for themselves. I worked and bought my own stuff after I turned 16. I can see a 14 or 15 year old, but after that…If they are coming to class unprepared, it’s because they choose to. By the way, GBTT, how much did you spend out of pocket last year? These issues aren’t fair to parents doing their share or the teachers forced to take up other people’s slack.

A Conservative Voice

July 28th, 2011
9:27 am

@ITK

July 28th, 2011
6:59 am
My kids’ elementary school started the “write a $30.00 check to the PTA and they’ll get the teachers all the supplies they need” system a couple of years ago, and I LOVE it. What a break for parents!

To ITF – You’re lazy and part of the problem. Don’t you even realize that what you’re doing amounts to a tax……and it’s also contributing to the entitlement problem (I don’t have to pay for nothing, the gubment will pay for it) we have in our state and country. Do you think your child is the only one who will benefit from your $30.00? C’mon……..

sloboffthestreet

July 28th, 2011
9:37 am

The one issue that seems to be a problem is community supplies. I too have had our children come home saying their $5 Fiskars are gone. They have no pencils. Again, if every child has the same pair of scissors, the same box of crayons, the same Dixon #2 pencil this would no longer be an issue and the teachers could get back to teaching our children instead of stopping arguments. Need folders? The boys get Ironman and the girls get Justin Beiber. Co- Op purchasing solves many problems. Also as Maureen pointed out, some years it becomes an entire days ordeal driving from one store to another. How much is that alone worth to anyone. The Six “P’s” once again apply. Hey, Problem solved.

For the parents who cannot afford or refuse to make a donation or buy supplies? There is nothing one can do but put your best foot forward and realize your childrens education can only benefit by their classmates proper education. It was correctly pointed out there are many resources for free supplies. My daughter has a school store that provides free items for her classroom and she can receive items several times a year up to a certain dollar amount all supplied from Title I funds.

You can call me Ray, you can call me Jay, but a “SUCKER” I’m not. Just a parent that wants an education for his children and realizes the education of the entire class is the only thing that can make this possible. If it cost a few more dollars or some of my time, so be it!

GASouthernGradGirl

July 28th, 2011
9:38 am

I am a teacher and always buy the community supplies for my class. Students are expected to bring their own notebooks, folders, and pencils. Really, that’s all they need to be successful in my class – I don’t mind providing crayons, markers, scissors, and glue for the few times we use them (5th grade). What always surprises me is the number of students who don’t come to school with the basics – not even a pencil – but have brand new shoes and jeans. I teacher in a low-income school, but some how these parents find the money to get their hair and nails done, buy clothes that cost more than anything I own, and have smart phones. Yet their child has to borrow a pencil from me every day.

rosie

July 28th, 2011
9:41 am

I found out several years ago that schools/teachers make list requesting multiples of everything because many parents at our school just don’t send anything. I learned the supplies I sent became community property. This year the teacher requested 4 boxes of crayons, 2 germ x, 3 boxes tissue, 3 packs of paper, 2 spiral bound notebooks, etc. Where would a teacher put 80-90 boxes of crayons, 40-50 bottles of germx, 60+ boxes of tissue, 60+ pack os paper? When you think about it you realize a few parents are supplying the entire class. I send one of each item on the list and request the teacher send a note home if more supplies are needed. Only once during cold season we have received a note requesting more tissue. The supply list has gotten insane. A spray bottle with a little bleach and water will do anything clorox wipes, not to mention it is cheaper. I pack a small hand sanitizer, small pack of tissues and band-aids in my child’s backpack. I buy lots of paper and pencils during back to school sales and keep it at home. My child knows to get more paper or pencils when needed. You might ask your child if he is washing his hands at school. You might find out why the teacher is requesting all of that hand sanitizer. With so little time to prepare for the test good hygiene has taken a back burner to test prep.

God Bless the Teacher!

July 28th, 2011
9:43 am

@Parenting2…Last year, just $200+. Most years between $300-$400. However, I go to yard sales and buy school supplies (some folks are nice enough to donate them), and I hit Staples when teachers can stock up on 1-cent items. I also pick up pencils on the ground, recycle manila folders, and let students use the back side of copy/printer paper that doesn’t have test items or student information on the other side. At the end of the school year when students have locker clean out, I encourage my students to bring me any unwanted, unused school supplies which may be used the following school year. Many comply. A couple of years ago I bought my own $700 document camera so it would enhance instruction. The biggest concern I have as a teacher regarding school supplies is when a student drives a newer or more expensive car than I do, yet always wants to borrow a pencil and paper. Sorry to all the wealthier bloggers out there who think teachers and schools just want to pick their lucrative pockets, but such students don’t need my handouts.

atlmom

July 28th, 2011
9:46 am

gasoutherngradgirl: you hit the nail on the head. I have no problem giving money when people truly need it, but many people seem to have their priorities totally messed up.

It would be nice if a teacher could solicit donations for classroom supplies rather than having to get them his/herself. but is you have so many kids like you describe, it seems you wouldn’t get a penny.

no name used

July 28th, 2011
9:46 am

The thing that gets me is that they have the gall to ask for specific brands, and they are NEVER the off brands or less expensive brands.Nope, they insist on having the name brand stuff. My girls are in high school and college and we just get whatever will keep them on the best track for THEM.

Honeyfern, I too ran a school out of my home in another state from 2000 to 2004, and it was WONDERFUL. Glad to see I am not the only one!!! I would love to go back to doing that.

Tonya C.

July 28th, 2011
9:46 am

sloboffthestreet :

Unfortunately, your is really the only answer that works. The only problem I see (your suggestion is sound and prudent)…the Title I parents WILL NOT do this. The low-income schools see this very real issue. They won’t pay $10 for their kid to go on one field trip per year or the $5 PTA fee, so getting them to pay $20 or $30 for school supplies their children will NEED…good luck. I’m being honest.

I have been at a school that did exactly what you outlined, and it worked PERFECTLY. There were those that provided nothing, but they were in a small minority. But this school had a 95% PTA participation rate, an active parent base, and were in middle-class communities. So, it was like preaching to the choir so-to-speak.

ScienceTeacher671

July 28th, 2011
9:48 am

Our system is very serious about the “FREE and adequate education” part in the Georgia Constitution, so we are not allowed to put cleaning supplies or actually more than the very basics on our supply lists. They do give us $100 per year to buy supplies, including copy paper, printer ink cartridges, file folders, white board markers, etc. It doesn’t go far.

Like Catlady, we use the bathroom tissue instead of Kleenex, and I also collect dropped pencils. I spend a lot of money at the grocery store and the dollar store during the year, buying “lab supplies”.

When the lockers are cleaned out at the end of the year, you’d be amazed at how many unopened packages of paper and pencils are found. You’d also be amazed at how many of those same students never have paper or pencils in class.

It would be nice if the state/districts funded the classrooms adequately, but I don’t expect to see that happening in Georgia any time soon.

sloboffthestreet

July 28th, 2011
9:52 am

And speaking of good hygiene and hand washing, over 90% of the population does not wash their dominate thumb. Go ahead and rub your hands together like your washing your hands. Handwashing lessons several times a year is a very good idea. Little ones forget so easy. Also studies have proven simply using water on your hands is more effective than hand sanitizer. Add some soap and just imagine the possibilities.