A very interesting thing happened to me last week. I was on Twitter just hanging out minding my own business and I saw tweets start to appear about Amazon Prime Days. The interesting thing about this, they were not advertisement tweets from Amazon, they were tweets from teachers seeking funding for classroom supplies. I was quickly astonished and interested. I thought out loud “why would teachers need to solicit funding for their own classroom supplies?” I asked myself this question, not out loud, why aren’t school boards, school unions, school districts, the schools themselves, supplying teachers with every educational tool teachers need for their classroom?
There were thousands of tweets from teachers asking for help to fund their classroom supplies for the upcoming school year, going down my Twitter feed. I cannot express how shocking and upsetting this was for me to comprehend. I like other children, spent l a great deal of time in my youth, in a classroom. The classroom supplies were always there and used by every child in that class. I cannot express enough how important it was to have pencils, notebook paper, crayons, glue, scissors, chalk, pencil pouches, chalkboard erasers, rulers, protractors, notebooks, supplied by our school…. FOR TEACHERS AND STUDENTS.
I started paying close attention to the tweets from teachers. I discovered by reading these tweets that teachers were paying out of pocket for classroom supplies for their students. I could not believe such a thing was now normal. My first thought was why are schools NOT supplying teachers with the supplies needed to teach their students? Yes, I asked this question of the teachers tweeting for help getting school supply funding. Most of them responded by saying school districts had budgets and funding classrooms was low on the budget totem pole. Which means teachers had to find creative ways to come up with money to buy classroom supplies.
I will rant and rave about how ridiculously stupid and unfair this is to teaching professionals, later in this post. Can you imagine being a surgeon working in a hospital, going into the operating room and being responsible for providing your own surgical instruments, your surgical gown, your own mask & latex gloves? If you think that sounds crazy, imagine how a teacher must feel being responsible for purchasing, out of their own pocket, school supplies for their students. We’re talking about a profession that is underpaid understaffed and underappreciated. Then the school board and school districts want those same teachers to pay for school supplies. I can’t stress this enough…. THIS IS JUST WRONG.
Teachers themselves explain to me that school boards and school districts have limited budgets for funding classroom supplies. Let me explain to you why that is not an acceptable reason for putting the burden of school supply purchases on teachers. There is so much waste on both the local state and federal political levels it isn’t even funny. Politicians waste trillions of dollars a year on BS. If one group of people, a nonpartisan committee, trimmed all the fat from every state, local, federal government branch, you could fund teachers classroom supplies for eternity.
The US federal government just pledged $100 million dollars to the Middle East to help them with hunger/war relief, while in America we have homelessness, hunger, starvation, poverty, and no drug money assistance for the elderly. We send billions overseas helping other nations…. Leaving our teachers in the USA to beg for classroom supply funding on social media. $42 BILLION sent to the Ukraine last month for war assistance to defeat Russia. Yet teachers are tasked with buying their own classroom supplies.
We have Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and other gazillionaires wasting money on space travel, yachts the size of a small apartment complex, and all manner of stupidity instead of funding teachers classroom supplies, children’s school lunches, and a plethora of other issues needed to be addressed in America by Americans. When you are considered the world’s richest men and you happen to be American men why would America want for anything? Why can’t these icons of industry and wealth provide for the basic needs of every American citizen? No teacher in America should be paying for classroom supplies out of their pockets when we have a Bezos and a Musk calling themselves American citizens.
The federal government should be stepping in to fund classroom supplies if we can’t depend on our gazillionaire philanthropist. There is no sensible reason to expect a teacher who doesn’t even make a living wage, to buy classroom supplies. It’s like expecting an underpaid underappreciated bottom level employee to buy lunch for the entire corporation every day, out of their pocket, instead of a corporate lunch fund. You’d NEVER expect that from that low level employee. You’d NEVER ask that of that low level employee…so why expect that, ask that, from a teacher?
I have gotten to know many of these teachers who are soliciting funding for their classrooms, in the past week. I spent some time talking with them about their lives, their career path choice and WHY they became teachers. I found out what motivates them, what drives them to help their students strive for excellence…. And achieve excellence. I was once a wayward teenage student and a teacher, scratch that, teachers plural, turned my mind around. I cannot begin to tell you who or what I may have become if not for the professional concern from teachers about me as a student. Back in the day I had teachers take extra time to reach me mentally. Those teachers worked with me endlessly to let me see what I could become if I applied myself. There is no amount of money that is too much money to pay a teacher to reach a student who might be unreachable.
I could go on forever about my positive experience with teachers. That’s not what this post is about. I am asking America, our politicians, our elected officials on school boards, to take the responsibility of funding classroom supplies off the shoulders of teachers and put it where it belongs. Squarely in the purview of school budget committee members. Every school board, every school board budget committee member, should be responsible for finding money to supply classroom needs. That INCLUDES ALL children’s school supplies, children’s school lunches, transportation to and from school for students, making sure students have three square meals a day.
If we as a nation can waste billions of dollars every day on garbage proposals and ideas, we should be funding our own classrooms supplies. It’s really that simple. Find the money to give students the proper education and the proper classroom supplies/tools to be successful students and become successful adults. Do. This. Now.
Stop putting the burden of providing classroom supplies on our teachers. Stop asking our teachers to spend their own money to buy school supplies. Stop treating teachers like third world country, low class citizens. Pay Teachers a living wage. Pay Teachers benefits so they can come into a classroom and not worry about medical health insurance. Keep teachers happy and satisfied and content because without teachers this society, our species, will become extinct. There is no future without educators. TEACHER’S are as much a front line first responder as are medical professionals, fire departments, police departments. Ya’ll better wake up before a shortage in the education industry, TEACHERS, becomes a real issue. FIX.THIS. NOW.