“In most professions, you steal office supplies from work to bring home. But teachers steal office supplies from home to bring to work.”

By Valerie Strauss for The Washington Post

It has long been known that most U.S. teachers spend their own money on supplies without reimbursement, so The Washington Post decided to ask them how much they spend on supplies, what they buy and why.

Teachers — mostly in public school districts — sent more than 1,200 emails to The Post from more than 35 states. The portrait the messages paint is devastating — and reveals that educators do more than just spend their own money and have done so for decades with little public conversation about how to remedy the problem.

A story about all of this can be found on The Answer Sheet here, and below are quotes from teachers on the issue. Some of the teachers gave me permission to use their names; others only their state; some, no identifiers at all. Most of the teachers said they wanted to remain anonymous because they feared retaliation from administrators. I am including anonymous quotes because they are powerful and represent the vast majority of those teachers who responded to The Post.


Fred Gamble Jr.I am a resource teacher in Prince George’s County Public Schools. A twenty-five year veteran, I have probably invested one year’s salary on supplies for my classroom! At present, I need tissue, hand sanitizer, soap, pencils, paper, and other necessities that will ensure a classroom runs efficiently and healthy.There are so many reasons for the deficit in funding not only in Prince George’s County Public Schools, but nationwide. Society has accepted the ideals that educators must pay for their own supplies because of a multitude of years of underfunding from the federal and local governments. Unless self-employed, no other professional purchases their own supplies!Because educators are nurturing practitoners, our own funds have sometimes been used to ensure that our students excel academically. It is not and has never been fair to us as professionals.We are disrespected by our yearly salary, countless demands have been placed on us, and each year more responsibilities for testing advancement accountability has become unbearable. In my opinion these are some of the reasons there is such a shortage for educators in our country.

Read more here.

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