Average US Teacher Spends $479/yr on Classroom Supplies
Ninety-four out of a hundred public school teachers in the USA pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets, according to federal data, Education Week reported today.
The average annual expenditure was $479, which is rarely reimbursed by the teachers’ schools.
This school year, Taylor Milburn has spent $500 to stock her 2nd grade classroom with supplies, and another $600 on activities and games from a resource-sharing site. She spends $10 a week on paper towels and disinfecting wipes, and about $30 every other month on color ink cartridges. She just shelled out another $35 for a pizza party to celebrate her students’ progress in reading—and the list goes on.
“It’s either me buy it, or [my students] not have that experience, and I always choose for them to have that experience, even if it’s at my own family’s expense,” said Milburn, who teaches at a high-poverty school in Durham, N.C.
She doesn’t receive any reimbursement from her school. And Milburn isn’t alone: In the 2014-15 school year, 94 percent of public school teachers spent their own money on classroom supplies without reimbursement, according to a just-released analysis of federal data.
On average, these teachers spent $479, according to data from the 2015-16 National Teacher and Principal Survey, a nationally representative sample survey of teachers and principals in the 50 states and the District of Columbia that’s conducted by the U.S. Department of Education.
That’s an increase from the past decade: During the 2006-07 school year, 92.4 percent of public school teachers spent their own money on classroom supplies without reimbursement, according to federal data. The average amount teachers spent then was $450 (the numbers were not adjusted for inflation).
Teachers — especially those in low-income schools — say they spend their own money, because otherwise most of their students would not have necessary learning materials during the year.
Welcome to America 2018.