School Supplies the Great Parental Myths

Let’s start with the basic premise myth, education is free.  Education is not free.  Taxes must be raised at a local, federal, and sometimes state level to pay for it.  When those revenues do not match the costs, cuts are made, taxpayers are asked for further contributions, and families are asked to contribute.  This results often in parents asking the wrong questions about the school budget.  They focus on the petty frustrations of school supplies when they should be asking why the school budget is not managed appropriately to fund school supplies.  Why are those cut when other items not mandated by federal and state laws stay?

The school supply debate heats up every year about this time.  Parents have or are getting the list of required or suggested items that need to be purchased and tempers begin to flare.  If you are an informed voter, you already know the state of your school budget and why you have a school supply list.  Conversations have been had about taming the budget.  Based on the size of the list handed out, it is an argument likely, lost.  If you are still screaming about the free and appropriate public education, the greedy teachers, then you likely have not been part of the school budget debate.  Based on the way our economy is going, be prepared for the lists to get longer.   School systems are cutting back in areas they can legally pass on costs.  For those of you who do not understand, school supplies are not mandated by law.

The next myth, teachers are greedy.  Many parents do not know that teachers already are subsidizing the local education budget.  Teachers buy books, school supplies, curriculum materials, and other materials that are not supplied.  How many people are required to bring copy paper to work to be able to perform their duties and are not reimbursed for it?  Teachers do this and more daily.  Why parents do not expect to pay for the cost confuses me.  Parents should run for school board and clean up the budget to find more dollars for school supplies.  If they find the money in the budget or convince their neighbors to pay more in taxes, no more school supply lists.  Some districts do a better job than others in this area finding ways to raise private funds to offset the costs for parents and teachers. Most teachers would prefer ordering supplies they want without having to listen to angry complaints of parents.  Remember, paying for education is the obligation of taxpayers, not the teacher.  You are shopping for your own child when you shop for the teacher.  If you find discount school supplies on your list throw an extra item in to help out your school.  The teacher may not have the resources to buy extras.  There are charities that provide free school supplies to families who are struggling, consider donating.  Like everyone else, teacher financial budgets are tighter this year than normal.

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