Monday, September 24, 2007

School Supplies

Last week my local newspaper published an article, "School Supply (On) Line" , focused on the central theme that "teachers (in the White Bear Lake, Minnesota school district at least) are turning to the Internet to land donations or classroom supplies." The article went on to name a few websites that teachers have been using to secure donated classroom supplies which include these URLs:

Now who doesn't "love schools" or who wouldn't want to "adopt a classroom" ? These are all noble ventures and perhaps more importantly -- these are private, non-governmental initiatives as far as I could tell from the article I read. Three cheers for personal initiative!!!

The first website listed above provides some interesting background notes we should all pause to consider:

Did You Know?
Only 2.8% of dollars spent on education go toward classroom supplies.
The average teacher spends $400-$500 of their own funds each year to purchase classroom supplies.
100% of every dollar donated to Classroom Wishlist for classroom supplies is used to deliver goods into the classroom.
Donations to Classroom Wishlist are tax deductible.

What -- only 2.8% of "dollars spent on education go toward classroom supplies" ? Instead of writing checks to right this wrong why don't taxpayers ask a very relevant question -- so where is all the money going if it isn't going to supply the tools our children need?

Isn't this failure to arm teachers with the supplies they need to teach/engage the children in the classroom the equivalent of sending local police officers into the field without ammunition and sending fire fighters to extinguish fires without water hoses?

If our mayor/city council managed our police and fire operations in this manner they would be thrown out of office yet our school boards enjoy VERY high re-election rates for sending teachers into the classroom without the tools they need.

Education spending should go directly to teachers and parent associations to equip our classrooms versus the current system where the dollars simply get lost in the education bureaucracy. Perhaps my readers would like to know why I am so confident money is being lost in this way? I have first hand evidence courtesy of an elementary school teacher in Iowa I talked to at a fraternity brother's football tailgate last season. I asked her how much money she had to spend on school supplies each year to which she replied, "about $400 each year.........but I wouldn't have to if the school would eliminate the monthly car allowance payment it pays to administrators..................."

Don't tell me we don't have enough money!!!!

Priorities need to be set not higher school levies,


1 comment:

jdsqrd said...

My school now uses about 50% of its budget for facility operations. The building has air conditioning - something our old building didn't have. The asbestos insulation must have negated the need for cooling...