$114 may not seem that bad. After all, that’s only $11 per month of school.
But, inevitably, there’s the ask from teachers for school supplies to be donated - the extra pencils, crayons, and the inevitable truck load of glue sticks (no, they’re not eating it).
Numerous conversations with parents reveal a resentment, tinged with shades of guilt, for the resentment. The conversation always goes back to school taxes, as in, “I pay my school taxes. I don’t understand why I need to donate school supplies. I’ve expenses just like everyone else and I’m not asking for anyone to help me pay them.”
Then I read the shocking news story about Teresa Danks, a Columbus, OH teacher, who decided to panhandle for the money she needed to purchase school supplies for her classroom.
Here’s the thing - you’re sending your child to school with the requisite supplies. Maybe someone else couldn’t. Maybe their child is one of the 51% of US public school students who live in poverty.
Buying extra supplies is one way to alleviate stress in the classroom, for teachers, and for students in need. If a student is stressed, they’re not learning. They’re thinking about whatever it is, that’s stressing them out. As in, “Crap. I don’t have any more paper. Gotta ask Mom to get me some. How much does paper cost anyway? She’ll probably say I was wasting it and she doesn’t have any money to buy it anyway. I wonder who I can borrow some from. Who haven’t I asked yet?”
Let’s keep our learners focused on learning. And let’s keep our teachers teaching.
So the next time you see that list come home with the extra supplies request, or you take a few tags from the giving tree at preschool/early elementary, relish the chance to be a good neighbor…think of it as your personal Santa Claus moment. You'll feel good and lower your stress.
And if your state participates in the tax free weekend for school supply shopping, take advantage. Here’s a list of the participating states and times: http://hip2save.com/2017/06/26/2017-tax-free-shopping-dates-save-on-back-to-school-shopping-select-states-only/
For more on how schools are funded, check out this piece from NPR; it is a complex and multifaceted story, subject to frequent changes.