Teachers shelling out nearly $500 a year on school supplies, report finds
Pencils, pens, crayons, construction paper, T-shirts, snacks and, sometimes, a pair of shoes: The costs add up for public school teachers who reach into their own pockets for classroom supplies, ensuring their students have the necessities of learning.
Nearly all teachers are footing the bill for classroom supplies, an Education Department report found, and teachers in high-poverty schools spend more than those in affluent schools.The report, prepared by the National Center for Education Statistics and released Tuesday, is based on a nationally representative survey of teachers during the 2015-2016 school year. It found that 94 percent of teachers pay for classroom supplies, spending an average of $479 per year. About 7 percent of teachers spend more than $1,000 per year.
The report was released as Arizona, Oklahoma and West Virginia continue to feel the aftershocks from teacher protests over low pay and cuts to school spending that shut down schools for days.
The cost can be especially burdensome for teachers who make meager salaries and live paycheck to paycheck. Even in places such as Oklahoma, where educators are among the lowest-paid in the nation, teachers still reach in to their pockets to make up for budget shortfalls that have stripped resources from schools. One Tulsa teacher last year resorted to panhandling to pay for school supplies.
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