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August 22, 2006



I have been a teacher for the past 6 years. I would like to explain the supply request lists.

Teachers do ask for specfic brands because often parents will buy whatever Wal-Mart decides they should buy (the displays). These are not often quality items, which means that after a month these students are borrowing materials that have already broken.

I am not a fan of community supplies. I have done it both ways and I like the kids keeping their own stuff better (I teach 3rd-6th graders). But I do understand, especially with the younger kids, why some teachers opt for community supplies. Kids that age often are not able to keep track of all the bits and pieces. If the teacher keeps all supplies separated, she can reach for all the glue or scissors instead of 20 kindergarteners rummaging around for 10 minutes to find them.

The last point I want to make is about the (what parents might consider) "strange" supplies on the list. All of the trainings teachers go through and new teaching methods we are required to use every year involve different supplies. I know maybe 3 years ago, the big thing was sticky notes. Teachers were being taught to use them in many different situations in the classroom. I asked parents for batteries 2 years ago for individual walkmans so the kids could listen to books-on-tape as a center. Highighters are not only used in reading, but in writing too, to examine published authors' writing and divide it into different kinds of imagery. Often teachers are pushed into using certain activites in the classroom by the administration. This requires them to be creative in getting the students motivated to participate. All kids love new office supplies.

Every item on the list has a purpose, even if it is not always evident to the parents. I know how difficult it is to try to supply these things to kids living in poverty. Even if I don't have a lot of money by the time my daughter is in school (she is 15 mos) I plan to buy extras of everything on the list and send it in for the teacher to use as she sees fit. I know where she is coming from...

Maria P.

I work in real estate and have found that most people I come in contact with think (they've heard) that the schools in their area are good. Most have not done the research though. I used to be the same way. I finally did the research and ended up moving to a much more expensive city to be in the best school district in the state. Our full day K. still shares supplies though. The older grades only share a few things like handsanitizer.


Wow. I have one child, a toddler. I had no idea that there was so much involved in buying supplies. How do you get them to the classroom? Does mom and dad have to take them in to the assigned desk? Or does the teacher keep all the extra glue sticks for each child and parse them out? And why do they need to have special brands of things? Not looking forward to this part of my daughter's life at all. But I'll bet private school isn't much better, is it?


Shelley, Do you know any teachers personally? What do you think, they take all the glue sticks and sell them on Ebay? I can see it now - a black market for school supplies funded by parents. Yeesh.

It *is* about insufficient funding - programs are being cut everywhere, all across the country, in probably every district. Yet there are more and higher paid administrators. Teachers are being asked and expected to do more - for example - picking up the slack where parents have left off - disciplining children who haven't had limits placed on them, dealing with kids who haven't eaten breakfast, kids who sit in front of video games all day and don't know how to read, kids who have special learning needs, kids who don't speak English, etc., etc., etc.

And, asking for specific brand names? Well, I'm sure there's a reason - maybe certain brands have ingredients that some kids are allergic to - in this day and age, parents threaten lawsuits all the time, so maybe the teachers are trying to keep things uniform to avoid controversy.

Ancarett said it - people want low taxes and then expect schools to be top notch, no matter where they live. You gotta pay if you want progress.

Maria P.

I am particularly PO'd that we keep voting for the teachers and the schools to get more money but they are not. WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING?????

Why why why is our education system constantly being shorted?!!! :@

P.S. The supply lists here are kept at local office supply stores. You go there and pick up the list cooresponding to your class and school. :)

Robin P

Oh ya....and another thing....where the heck do all the scissors go????? Twenty eight kids brought scissors into Lillianna's class last year. They don't get to keep them so they stay in the class room and yet,the new 2nd graders have to buy scissors too!!
Where are the 28 from last year and the year before and the year before???????????
They certainly don't throw them away.

Robin P

I don't mind buying Lillianna school supplies but her list is just as excessive as the one you posted. Also,all the supplies are pooled. So if "Johnny" and "Julie" eat the crayons or chew the pencils that they use,Lillianna has to use them too.She can't even keep her supplies separate.
If parents are investing in supplies,each child should have their own.
I think it's ridiculous. I really do.
As for the kids that can't afford supplies,everyone could bring in an extra thing or two but 4 packs of crayons and a million glue sticks is stupid. I can't afford it either.
Lillianna's school asks for tissues,napkins,paper towels and Clorox wipes all through the year.

Not to mention,she comes home with a fundraiser twice a month.I don't even bother with those. There is no one to sell them to and I can't afford to buy anything!!!

The Beast Mom

I don't mind our basic school supply list and am myself kind of particular about good quality art supplies. I do mind, however, that there are all kinds of other requested donations all year long. I can understand everyone buying some communal supplies at the beginning of the year, but it's not in my budget to support eighteen other fundraisers or classroom events the rest of the year. For instance, I don't think kids should be spending half days doing parties for every holiday or every birthday. That's not what school is for. I can understand a Christmas party, but I'd be fine if that was the only classroom party. At each of these extra events/parties, it's the parents who have to donate refreshments/paper goods/etc. as well as volunteer time. I just don't see the point really. Our school also has walk-a-thons, at least 2 auctions, dinners, ice cream socials, requests for miscellaneous snacks/supplies to supplement the initial stash, requests for prizes, book fair purchases, etc. There is just too much. I know we don't have to go to any of these things and don't HAVE to give money, but certain events cause a distinct division between the have's and have not's which makes the have not's feel pressured and even embarrassed at times if they too don't "do their part". I'm all for school being enjoyable, but at some point, it feels like school has become about entertainment as much as education. It's a reflection on our society at large I guess, a society that can only handle 2 minute segments of reality tv rather than sit down and read a complex book for a couple hours straight. But I digress far too much now...My main pt is that school supplies are alright w/ me, but the rest is not.
-Beast Mom


Every teacher I know spends hundreds of dollars on classroom supplies -- it's not like they're raking it in. The schools no longer supply workbooks, construction paper, etc. -- every decoration in the classroom is teacher-bought as are a fair bit of the activities that students produce.

We need to stop nickel-and-diming our school board fundings and realize that we need to put in something more in order to keep things going -- the added costs of testing policies and administrative overhead of the same in the last few years have only made things worse in the classrooms.

As for the specific brand requests, those are annoying, but they probably reflect the issues that teachers have with students bringing permanent markers, scented markers, etc. into class, causing more problems. It would be nice if there was one standard supply list across the school or division: our girls' schools manage to provide those each year at the end of term, helping us to prepare for the next.

Lisa H

My eldest child started kindergarten yesterday. We brought in $75 worth of supplies, only 3 items of which will be used exclusively by my child. I asked the teacher why we had to bring so much more (I really don't see my kid going through 8 boxes of crayons in one year) than we need and she told me that it's to supplement for the kids whose parents can't afford the supplies. Yeah. There are several things I could say about that. Argh.


What kinds of activities require 6 glue sticks for the entire year? In a class of, oh let's say 20, that's 120 glue sticks for the year! What happened to sharing supplies? And yes, why are certain brands required? We are spending more on education now than ever before . . . I'm going to have to disagree that it is only about insufficient funding. Sounds like the teachers have some explaining to do.

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