(WSAU) NEWS BLOG: An open letter to teachers as a new school year is about to begin.
I’ve just finished my back-to-school shopping for this school year. Price tag: $184. And that doesn’t include the first-day-of-school outfits that Grandma is paying for. Or the student-activity fees.
I know times have changed and budgets are tighter. So many of the things I’ve just purchased were supplied by the schools when I was a kid. That’s not my complaint. I expect to pay for the things my child needs to be successful in school.
What I object to is what will happen at open house night later this month, when I’m supposed to bring all these school supplies to class. They all get dumped onto a giant table in the middle of the classroom, divided up, and stored away for when they are needed.
I’ve bought every item on the school supply list. While shopping, I followed directions perfectly – even going to different stores if Wal Mart didn’t have the exact size or quantity of item you asked for. And on open house day I will watch, as I do every year, other students who show up empty-handed or with just a few of the items on your 20-item list. Their kids will be using the extra supplies that I’ve been asked to buy.
At the end of this school year, I’m giving a copy of this letter to next year’s teacher. Next year I will buy only the school supplies that my child will personally use. If they need a pen, I’ll send them to school with one. Pencils, notebooks, magic markers, and glue sticks I’ll gladly provide… but not for other people’s children.
This year there are two boxes of magic markers on the school list. My child only needs one. A box of 24-pencils? That’s one every two weeks. My kid doesn’t use that many. Two boxes of Kleenex? If every kid bought two you’d be going through a box every three days. Four glue sticks? Two bottles of glue? 20-ballpoint pens? 12-ziplock storage bags? This is all far more than my child will use.
Just so you don’t think I’m some hard-hearted tightwad, I support the school backpack program. I donate extra school supplies. I pay my school taxes (among the highest in the area) with a smile because I think good schools are important. Times are tighter for me this year, as they are for many families. And this year I feel like I’m being taken advantage of.