Aug 20, 2014

Why You Need to Quit Complaining About School Supplies



It's back to school time which means the kids are getting haircuts, shoes, first day of school outfits, and school supplies. Of course this means my Facebook feed is full of parents complaining about the school supply list. Otherwise known as people who annoy me into writing a blog post.

Why do they need to bring in dry erase markers? Shouldn't the schools provide those?

Like each kid really needs to bring in 12 glue sticks, that's enough glue for 3 years. 

When did highlighters become a school supply?

Ugh! I just spent $140 on school supplies. I guess we won't eat this week. (said by a mom of 3!)

Look I get that it's easy to complain about back to school expenses. The kids need new shoes and clothes since they have this weird tendency to grow a few inches over the summer. My middle child has managed to outgrow 2 pairs of shoes since summer started. In May the kid was a size 10.5, now she's a 12.5 - she is killing me!

But I'm hear to tell you that complaining about buying school supplies is annoying to anyone who has ever worked in education. Did you know that the average cost of private school is $8,549? Perhaps dropping a few bucks on school supplies isn't so bad when you think about the fact that we have a public education system in this country. Unlike third world countries where children go without schooling since their parents can't afford it.

Furthermore it's not like the school sends home a note one week before school starts announcing that you have to bring school supplies for the first time. I'm in my mid thirties and my mom had to buy school supplies for me. This is not a new concept folks! Most districts send the lists home at the end of the school year so you have all summer to buy the supplies. Quite frankly the fact that someone didn't budget for school supplies or buy throughout the summer is their own fault.

And trust me the moms out there who are complaining about the cost are the same moms who posted pictures of their trip to Disney World or that fabulous cruise to Alaska. There are not moms who are financially unable to contribute, they are just whining.

Then there is the argument that you're buying school supplies for the whole class. Just stop, trust me you're not. Even at my Title One school every parent brought in school supplies. Maybe not everything on the list but they hit the basics of crayons, scissors, pencils, glue, and folders. I know some people think that buying 6 glue sticks for the whole year is excessive but it's not. We ran out of glue sticks by March and most parents bought more than 6. Guess who had to buy more when we ran out? That's right the teacher aka me.

In a perfect world teachers would actually make a decent salary and schools would have all the supplies they need. Of course your taxes would have to triple for that to happen and I'm sure that bill would get voted down in a New York minute. Until then, the parents are going to need to bring in school supplies.

So stop complaining already! Buy what you are financially able to purchase and maybe throw in an extra pack of glue sticks if you can.


12 comments:

  1. When my daughter started first grade in a public school, I thought I was budgeted for her school supplies. I received the list the second week of July (school started the second week of August) and realized I may have been budgeted for her supplies but not for supplies for the entire class. When I was in school, we didn't share supplies. We all had our own. My daughter needed to bring 10 boxes of 24 count crayons, 10 spiral notebooks and folders, 72 glue sticks, 10 boxes of 8 count markers, 7 scissors and 100 pencils. There were 33 students in her class. Out of those 33 students, only 12 families sent the supplies. The reason from them was not because they were low income and could not afford it but because they had better things to spend their money on and there are always the sucker parents who send in extra. By the end of January, a note came home to ALL parents to send in more supplies to get them to the end of the year. My husband had just lost his job and money was tight. I had extra supplies here for my daughter and sent her to school with them in a zippered pouch. I was informed by the teacher and principal that was no acceptable and not the policy of the school. It's not fair to the other children who don't have their own supplies. I explained my situation to the them and I was told to get a job. There was no need for me to be a SAHM because my daughter was in school full time and if I worked, I could afford when my daughter needs. Not to mention I would be setting a great example for her to not depend on a man. That was a slap in the face to me. I was the room Mom for her class, I was working closely with not only her teacher but the others. Anytime the school needed volunteers, I was there. I am a SAHM not because I don't want to work but because I have medical problems that cannot be seen on the outside. Anyway, I told them that if it wasn't for us SAHM, the teacher's crap work (her words, not mine) wouldn't get done. I told them to go after the parents who never sent in the supplies at the first of the year. All those notebooks and folders I had to send, were never used and they never came back at the end of the year. From what I have read, this is a common occurrence and it's not just happening in my district. As for the list being sent home at the end of the year. Yes, it does happen. But what also has happened is the first day of school, the teacher sends home another list of things she wants. Which costs even more money. So, yes. I do think in this situation we do have a right to complain. My husband isn't working and I'm not budgeting to fulfill other families school supply list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I would complain about that list, the glue sticks and scissors are ridiculous. Most schools aren't like that even though they all share supplies. And to clarify I'm not talking about parents who have financial problems. I'm talking about the people who went to Disney for a week and then complain about $60 on school supplies. They need to stop.

      Delete
  2. I think as long as it's well planned (they give parents enough notice) then I don't mind. There are so many children in our area who's parents will likely be out of work soon, so I don't mind doing my part to support the school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you see it that way too. Supporting our kids and school is vital for our nation's education. I know I'm buying extra supplies and I don't mind since I really don't want the teacher to have to foot the bill. I was a teacher and I spent thousands of dollars in my classroom. I know we all say it's just part of the job and unfortunately it is but it still stinks.

      Delete
  3. When I was teaching, if parents didn't send in what was needed, *I* had to buy it. And while some parents would get an attitude and claim that their taxes paid me, so I should take care of the supplies... back in '99, I cleared 1100/month. I did not have any extra(I still bought things, but dang, it hurt!).

    We do have some things that go into a community pile, like glue sticks or computer paper, part of it is that not everyone brings and part of it is that there's not enough room to keep everything stored separately so when a child needs a new glue stick, they just take from the community pile rather than digging for one they brought in.

    One thing that can be done if parents can't afford all the supplies at once, is to talk to the teacher and ask what their child needs for the start of the school year. Then send in the rest a little later.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes the dreaded I pay your salary comment, I wanted to punch the parents that said that to me when I was teaching. I always told parents to bring what they could afford and send it in when they could. Thankfully I worked in a neighborhood that was well supported with Title One funding so school supplies were provided for us more than most schools. But I still spent money every year on supplies and extras for my class. Items like scissors were never provided so my first year I had to buy 35 pairs for my Kindergarten class. I learned to shop the sales and stock up which serves me well now as a parent with 3 kids. I'm like a kid in a candy store when I see crayons for 25 cents a pack. Time to load up :)

      Delete
  4. I'm not sure if it is a state decision, but requiring students to bring supplies is against the law in California. We can request that students come prepared (only for themselves - asking for supplies for 10 is overkill), but if students come without, I must provide the materials to them. Some of that can be provided by the school, and luckily most of my students have what they need, but I am forced to supply materials for a number of my students every year.

    If parents can provide for their children, they should. It just is what it is, and like you said, it should be considered a part of getting ready for school. Complaints about price or having to shop for them each year frustrates me, too, because I know I'll be (or their child's teacher will be) the one to pick up the slack. I have no problem helping my students if there are situations out of their control which leads to them being unable to get their supplies, though when I see the same kid sporting an iPhone and brand new designer shoes it can be annoying to take from my family to support another's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No school can require students bring in school supplies, it is just a request. As a former teacher, I feel your frustration. Some of my students had the newest shoes and wore designer clothes but their parents wouldn't bring in crayons or scissors. It was very frustrating. But my friends who are complaining about the cost of school supplies took family vacations to Disney or Hawaii and then have the nerve to complain about spend $60 on back to school supplies. It's not really about can they afford it, it's that they don't think it's their responsibility.

      Delete
  5. I liked reading this. I usually buy school supplies at an office supplies store that go towards families that can not afford to buy school supplies. I remember one of my class mates in 5th grade who did not have a notebook and how stressed he was bc his mom was waiting on her paycheck in two weeks. That always has been with me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I'm always amazed that the same parents that preach the importance of charity scream about shared school supplies.

      Delete
  6. OhMyGoodness, there is NEVER enough glue! Or pencils. NEVER enough pencils in a primary-grade classroom!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never! I just bought glue sticks at Office Max because they are on sale for 25 cents for a four pack. I handed all my kids 75 cents and we all bought the maximum. Not for their teachers but for my classroom! And it still won't be enough.

      Delete

 
Blog Design byA Mommy's Blog Design (© Copyright 2011)