Supporting our Educators, One List at a Time.
If you're like me, you have years of memories inside an American public school. Bright walls, new books, all the crayons you could ask for, and teachers that work so hard, their students know it too. What many people don't realize, however, is that teachers' classrooms don't come fully stocked and ready for students.
It's important to acknowledge that some schools are better funded to reimburse their teachers than others, and in some cases teachers can order supplies through their school thanks to supportive administration, but there are still many that leave it entirely up to the teachers to get everything they need. Additionally, the US government gives a $250 tax credit to teachers for any school supplies they buy, but most end up surpassing this amount. Every year when school begins, we start to see social media posts about shared amazon wishlists or GoFundMe's that support teachers and their classrooms. Thousands of teachers all over the country spend thousands of dollars of their won money in order to buy decorations, supplies and books for their classes. From preschool all the way to 12th grade, teachers struggle every year to make a living wage, just to spend their paychecks on their jobs. Sure, you could say "Teachers love their jobs! This is money they'll spend no matter what!" Yes, they do love their jobs which is why they make the sacrifice, but who can honestly say they love spending money they make on their employers? That's right. Teachers make the sacrifice so their school boards don't have to.
The school boards with millions of dollars in funding.
No public educator in the United States should have to shell out thousands of dollars of their own money for school supplies and classroom sets of books.
No public educator in the United States should have to beg strangers on the internet to help them afford school supplies. However, they do.
Over the past week via Twitter, I've complied a list of over 500 teachers in the USA that need help clearing their lists on Amazon. (See Below)
(Just to put it in perspective, most schools require reading or have a kist of books a student must read in their english curriculum. For me, that was Night , The Jungle, and Lord of the Flies. A student may be able to buy used or borrow from their local library, but a teacher would spend $200+ on a class set of new copies depending on the book and publisher.)
In Georgia, lawmakers have passed legislation in an attempt to alleviate the statewide shortage. Under HB 385, retired K-12 teachers with at least 30 years of experience would be able to return to the classroom full-time. Those who chose to return would receive retirement pension as well as salary. However, many teachers are opting to stay out of the classroom, because they make more money elsewhere. (source)
Additionally, we have seen an extreme decline in young people wanting to become teachers. A survey conducted by the Georgia Department of Education asked teachers if they were likely to recommend the teaching profession to upcoming high school graduates. A staggering 66.9 percent of teachers answered that they were unlikely to recommend pursuing a career in teaching. Only 2.7 percent of those surveyed said that they were very likely to recommend it.
As you may know, my main policy concerns surround education. It not only makes me sad and angry to see this happening to public education in 2022, but it also worries me for not only our teachers, but our kids. Children are like sponges; the absorb everything around them, they're smarter than we give them credit for and they hold on to information longer than we think. They notice when their favorite teacher doesn't come back the next year. They see their teachers rising stress levels. They hear what parental figures say at home and what they see on the news.
The future of public education is on the ballot this year. As a product of public education and state funded universities, I implore you to register to vote, get to the polls this year, and vote blue to ensure the future of public education in Georgia and the country.