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Report: Why Teachers Pay for School Supplies

Report: Why Teachers Pay for School Supplies

When it comes to school supplies in the classroom, teachers far too often spend their own cash on their students. The reality is that many educators' classrooms are underfunded by the districts that employ them. 

According to a series on American teachers conducted by Gawker, “many of our public schools are greatly underfunded, short on supplies, and are financially supported by teachers themselves,” said an article on

The article looks at P.S. 132 in the Washington Heights neighborhood in New York City “where the children’s toilets are decrepit, old, and overflowing with waste. Or, even worse, a Philadelphia elementary school with a yearly budget of $160. Yes, $160 to support a school of 400 students for the entire year.”

“Most people will tell you that they have bought some necessary item for their job in order to make their lives easier,” the article said. “This is not out of the ordinary, even if it means eating the cost yourself. But the reason that so many teachers lament having to buy their own supplies isn't simple.”

Teachers, the article said, “face mismanaged budgets, lack of awareness on the part of administrators for teacher/student needs, and the knowledge that, without certain tools at their disposal, students simply cannot learn.”

One teacher, according to the article, said the following: “Supplies. The elementary school has to ration paper. At the HS, we can have all the paper we want, but out copy machine is broken 80% of the time. High schoolers eat pencils, but lord help you if you don't have enough writing materials for students every day. I spend hundreds of dollars a year buying books for students and materials for class that the school won't cover. I'm lucky – we do have a supply budget. In schools without one, teachings spend thousands of dollars of their own money. I'm not being hyperbolic.”

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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