Help Out a Teacher: Buy Some Pens

pens for schoolWe have known for quite some time that the funding situation for the average public school teacher is getting dire. Unfortunately, according to NBC News, the situation is even worse this year. Teachers are paying more than ever for their students’ supplies.

A Growing Cost

As reported by NBC News, Horace Mann, an insurance agency that specializes in educational issues, came out with a study back in June that paints a less-than-pleasant picture of how much money the average public school teacher will pay out of their own pocket for necessary school supplies.

Here are a few of the gritty details:

  • 51% of teachers surveyed said that general classroom supplies were not covered by their budget this year.
  • 54% of teachers will pay more than $201 dollars of their own money to provide materials for their students this semester.
  • 81% of teachers cut two or more projects from their lesson plans because they could not afford to buy the supplies for them.
  • 60% of all teachers saw increased class sizes without a correlating increased supply budget.
  • 44% of all teachers had their salaries frozen, despite increased class sizes and cut budgets for classroom assistance (and 38% of all schools laid off classroom support staff.)

Despite the fact that there is less money to go around, many teachers are doing what they can to make it work. Some, like Hannah Martin, a pre-Kindergarten teacher in Apex, North Carolina, take on roommates and babysitting jobs to come up with the money they will need to pay for students’ supplies. Still others reach out to charitable organizations that can help them fill the supply gaps in their classrooms.

We Can Help

Thankfully, there are many organizations out there that do what they can to help teachers get the supplies that their students will need this coming school year. is my favorite. Teachers go online to ask for exactly what they need and then donors can fill their needs on a case-by-case basis.

If you have money for a daily trip to Starbucks, you have money to donate a box of paper to a local elementary school in need. Do the students – and their teachers – a favor, and find a way to help them out this year.

How have you helped your local schools this year?

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A teacher by trade, Elizabeth LaBelle graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in 2011. After specializing in Political Science and Francophone Studies with a minor in Korean, the only tangible skill she can show for it is the ability to write in all three languages. Elizabeth never thought she would get paid to write in any language – but after four years washing dishes in an industrial kitchen and a year selling office supplies door-to-door, nothing surprises her. When she’s not writing or teaching, Elizabeth coaches high school debate and forensics. Her hobbies include thoroughbred racing, competitive pool playing and hunting for the perfect Chicago apartment.

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