School Supply rant

We got the list of school supplies from our step-son’s elementary school.  At least it wasn’t a total shock to me because I had heard on a parenting blog that I read that school supply lists were common and the items on them were things like paper towels and kleenex in additional to the more traditional consumables.  I am also being told that not a single one of these items belong to my child.  Not the scissors, the notebooks, the pencils or the crayons.  They are supposedly all put away in a common place for the teacher to get out them they need them.  And not one of these items will be returned to us at the end of the year.  So where do 30 pairs of scissors go at the end of the year?  Fiskar’s Graveyard?  Hey Mom/Dave… did this happen in Canada when we were growing up?  Does it happen now?

So we went out and bought the school supply part of the list.  36 pencils and 72 crayons.  There are less than 40 weeks in a school year.  Are you trying to tell me that Piero is going to use a pencil a week?  Kylie and Piero colour every single time they are at our house.  When we looked after them 5 evenings a week,  they often coloured 5 evenings a week.  Those two children, over 8 months,  have not even used enough of my already used 96 crayons to peel off a wrapper of a single crayon.  So if 2 kids over 8 months don’t even use enough crayons to peel a single wrapper off of a crayon – WHY OH WHY AM I BUYING 72 CRAYONS for a single child?  They have also asked us to buy a ream of copy paper.  Are we seriously supporting the ability of the school to send work sheets home with our child?

And then we get to the part of the list that we left for Kelly to buy…. multiple rolls of paper towel, liquid soap, hand sanitizer, boxes of kleenex, plastic cups, baby wipes?  Baby wipes????? We are buying things for our child to use at school that aren’t even on the radar for use at home.  I feel as if I am purchasing bathroom supplies for my child.   Where did my property tax dollars that I paid when I didn’t even HAVE children go?

And I will say that I am not complaining about the cost.  All told,  it probably isn’t going to cost more than 60$ for the school supplies between both of our families.  That is assuming that we don’t get any requests to top up the supplies (as someone suggested you might).  The issue at stake is the principle of the thing.  I pay outrageous property taxes to the tune of several hundred dollars a month for our little pipsqueak one bedroom condo.  One top of paying those dollars out of my hard earned salary… I NOW HAVE TO BUY SUPPLIES THAT AREN’T EVEN JUST FOR MY CHILD?  It would be much, much easier to swallow if I was buying crayons and pencils and papers for my child to use in the school but I am not.


5 responses to “School Supply rant

  1. That is crazy! I never heard of such a thing! I know when I was going to school the only things on our school supply lists were: Pencils, blue or black pens, a calculator, and a three ring notebook for each class that required it. I would be outraged over this as well.
    ~ FC

  2. The girls had to have all that stuff but we got it back. We didn’t have to provide toiletry. And all that stuff had to be in their hot little hands by day 3 or they would start deducting grades….just crazy to stress out a 8 year old by not having a red pen!!

  3. Colleen’s list of school supplies was not unexpected.  When I was growing up we had to buy school supplies, but they were for ourselves to use during school hours.  Now a days, they are considered community property.  We also have to supply hand sanitizer and baby wipes.  Colleen’s teacher asked for a crazy amount of glue sticks, I forget if it was 8 or 12 – enough for it to really stick out as an unusual request.  Part of me wonders if they ask for so much because they know that not every child will comply and that way the ones that do bring the supplies cover for those that don’t?
    In NC property taxes weren’t so bad.  Now that we are in WA state, it is a different matter all together.  Property taxes are quite high here and sales tax is 9%!
    I wish your step son all the best as he starts his school year.  No matter what, it is an exciting time.  Take lots of pictures of his first day!  🙂

  4. In Canada we don’t supply anything for grades, junior kindergarden to 8.
    For grade 9 to 12 you have to supply paper, pens, pencils, rulers, three ring binders etc. We pay a deposit for text books but it is refunded when the book is returned.
    Of course there is the never ending fund raising for extracuricular activities.
    I would be questioning them about returning items that could be used the next year.
    I don’t even use a pencil a week or a pen for that matter at work. Dam I fill out 200 work requests and PO’s every week.
    May be the teachers use the extra pencils to heat there homes in the winter. LOL 

  5. Hi!  I saw that you were ranting about school supplies while reading Crunchy’s blog.  When I first saw the school supply list during my student teaching, I was concerned – why, in a very affluent district, are middle schoolers still required to bring in kleenex?  I later talked with other student teachers in lower grades (1, 3, 4) and found that the school supply habits that I saw in my middle schoolers were the same for all four of our classrooms – kids just don’t treat stuff at school the way they would at home.  As a teacher, I try to instill a sense of value in my students; some students have that from home – others couldn’t care less because someone will always step up and get them something new if their stuff breaks (broken crayon – only the lowest of the low geeky kid would ever be caught using it; pencil without an earaser – instant item for the landfill; kleenex – kid thinks, ‘hmm, I’m not getting this, and I don’t want to be called on…’ so every day during math, for a week, the kid grabs 5 kleenex and takes brief breaks in the back of the room to "blow his/her nose" until someone catches on; paper – it’s like spit – continuous supply = ‘I don’t care what happens to it, ’cause I’ll always have some!’; etc.).  Unfortunately, too much of property taxes are spent on beaurocratical crapola, and don’t stretch far enough to buy kleenex for classrooms, enough copy paper for each child (in a class of 25, a ream only makes 20 pages – one page per day for a month, one ream per student is less than three pages a day for 180 days (the school length where I teach) – and if you think about all the papers that come home – and the ones that don’t… Don’t get me wrong – I’m not supporting the cause of "make families buy more stuff for my classroom" at all!  But it is nice to put things like pencils in a pool – then there’s no disruption when someone says – I need a pencil.  The scissors and other non-consumables – I would ask the teacher if you could have them back at the end of the year/what s/he does with them (take a picture of your kiddo’s supplies so you don’t forget what s/he took in).  In my classroom, students bring in at least 24 specific pencils (a certain brand that shall remain nameless…), at least three glue sticks, OR a box of kleenex for class use, and are expected to have other materials on hand (and I bring them in as I find them – such as calculators, scissors, colored pencils, etc.) but can share/borrow.  Perhaps you could bring this to the attention of others in the district (principal, school board) – the fact that so many supplies had to be purchased – and they’re things your child doesn’t use (I, personally, hated buying kleenex – on the rare occasion I needed something like that, it was a hanky!). Best of luck!J 

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