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?