I noticed a conversation today on twitter around #Clearthelist. Apparently Courtney Jones started a movement about a month ago on social media to help support teachers called Support A Teacher , where teachers can share their Amazon (or other) wish lists in hopes of having them filled by generous donors. Sounds cool!! Until you really think about it. Why do teachers need to post wish lists? Don’t taxes fund schools? Yes taxes fund schools but right not it is hard for schools to keep up with the ever growing needs of their student bodies. With the costs of salaries, building maintenance, transportation and curriculum needs, classroom supplies often get short changed. Teachers often dig into their own pockets to make sure classes have all the supplies needed. On average teachers spend over $500 out of their own salary to equip their classrooms. Teachers that want to try more hands or engaging activities often spend more or end up asking their students for supplies.
Crowd funding for classrooms is nothing new, Donors Choose has been around for awhile. Crowd funding seems to be popular thing in the internet era. From medical costs to new product development to films crowd funding is happening. Now it is building steam in education. For me it brings to question Equity! Teachers that are more connected to resources will ultimately have more donors. Think about it, a teacher in a poorer community will not have parents who can afford to reach into their pockets for more, since they are struggling just to get by. Teachers in wealthier districts will have parents that are eager to donate, many of them already are via class supply lists. Social media will help equalize a bit allowing teachers to reach out of their local community but is this really equitable? How many items are needs vs wants or wishes? Then I worry about teachers who create list but nothing is purchased, how will they feel? Is this just luck of the draw?
I want to thank everyone for wanting to help teachers. Here is my wish list. The basic needs are on my listed, I added a few reach desires as I plan on teaching coding with drones and could always use more tools to reach more students. But after helping a teacher by sending supplies, it is time to help schools get funding for these supplies by voting.
Teachers shouldn’t have to beg for pencils, folders, or books for their students. It is time to fund school adequately.