Me & My Notebooks

September 9, 2009 § 4 Comments

I just spent almost $60 on school supplies, after waiting in line for 45 minutes at my neighborhood Staples (which is certainly not as crowded as stores in other neighborhoods on the first day of public school).

$60! $60 on two binders, a composition notebook, looseleaf paper, a package of binder dividers, 10 pens, 7 mechanical pencils, a Sharpie, and an eight-pack of Post-Its.

This sounds like a lot of money; and in fact, it sounds like a lot of stuff. Luckily, it’s not just my vanity and consumerism that makes me “need” everything I spend money on. The cost of school supplies, and the number of items that are being put on supply lists, seem to increase every year.

Education is an extremely classed issue, and it’s a bad situation from many angles. Students and their families fork over incredible amounts of money for school supplies. For everyone there’s the basics like notebooks and pencils; for elementary school kids cleaning products, art supplies, tissues, and paper towels for classroom use are added to the bill; and for some older kids’ classes, expensive items like graphing calculators are considered mandatory. At my school, there are often fee waivers, scholarships, and donated supplies for kids whose families can’t afford calculators, but there’s nothing to cover the cumulatively enormous cost of rudimentary items like paper and pens.

After parents contribute this hefty bundle, teachers often still run out of necessary items. I remember once in elementary school when our classroom printer ran out of paper, our teacher made a note in her planner to buy more computer paper. Teachers — even at my school, which was filled nearly to the brim with kids from privileged families — are often left with no choice but to pay for supplies out of their own pockets. Good thing we give them such exorbitant salaries anyway.

The city and state continue to slash school budgets, stressing out teachers and students alike by pushing our class sizes over the limit. (One math class has 42 STUDENTS and one teacher!)

Hey government, where are your priorities?

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§ 4 Responses to Me & My Notebooks

  • Nell Gwynne says:

    I remember one of my professors saying that a government funds what it loves/supports.

    So, what does it say about our government when states look at cutting education funding as the first line in balancing budgets?

  • ruthelizabeth says:

    tell me about it. if you study the sciences in college books can be upwards of $700, easy. not only for private schools. Obviously there are alternative ways of doing things (we have a great lending library for textbooks) but yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous, all the hidden costs.

  • Tristan says:

    I’m in community college (Running Start- high school program) and they used to cover all our fees aside from books and supplies (they paid tuition, lab fees, building fees, etc.). Now, they only pay for tuition. I’m paying 200$ worth of fees this quarter, excluding tuition, plus 350 dollars worth of books (that I bought used through Amazon for less than the college store)- for twenty credits. In community college.
    This is excluding all paper, pens, calculators (I had to buy a ninety-dollar graphing for high school, now I’m not allowed to use it!), folders, printer paper and ink, gas money (thankfully, bus passes are given to students, so I bus part of the way), and other various supplies like protractors and lab goggles.

    I started out with 21,000 dollars in my college fund last year. I’m down to 15,500 (I had to purchase a new computer in there, too) and I haven’t even started university. That’s not even enough for one year at the state university where I live.

    It’s beyond frustrating.

  • […] Yet again, I’ll ask: where the fuck are your priorities, government? […]

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