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With Schools Getting Ready To Reopen Just Weeks Away, Let’s Revisit The Findings Of A Department Of Education Survey That 94% of U.S. Public School Teachers ‘Spend Their Own Money On School Supplies - Without Reimbursement’

Published Thursday, August 8, 2019
by Niraj Chokshi/The New York Times
With Schools Getting Ready To Reopen Just Weeks Away, Let’s Revisit The Findings Of A Department Of Education Survey That 94% of U.S. Public School Teachers ‘Spend Their Own Money On School Supplies - Without Reimbursement’

(NEW YORK CITY) - Andy Yung, a Prekindergarten Teacher in Queens, is adept at raising money on-line for ambitious classroom projects, but even he sometimes pays for supplies out of pocket.

And he has company.

According to a Federal Department of Education survey released a couple of years ago, 94% of Public School Teachers in the United States reported paying for supplies without reimbursement in the school year that straddled 2014 and 2015.

It made little difference whether they taught in cities, suburbs or rural areas or whether or not their students were poor - virtually every Public School Teacher said they had used their own money for their classrooms.

“It’s ‘almost expected,’ especially in the Summer months creeping up into September,” Yung said. “It’s ‘just something we kind of naturally do.’”

The Teachers who reported spending their own money on supplies shelled out $479 each on average, according to the survey.

Seven percent reported spending more than $1,000.

The findings, based on a nationally representative sample of tens of thousands of Teachers, underscore the demands Teachers across the country have been making amid protests over stagnant pay and underfunding.

Limited budgets and red tape have led some Teachers to seek outside funds for classroom projects.

Like Yung, some of them use DonorsChoose.org, a crowdfunding website where Educators can solicit donations for supplies, trips and other projects.

For example, he raised almost $3,000 for materials to teach his students about insects.

The project was a hit, but the children wanted to see live bugs, too.

The cost of the additional materials was less than the DonorsChoose.org $100 minimum and Yung had already reached a city reimbursement limit, so he spent his own money to buy two more books, an ant farm and caterpillars.

“I ‘don’t want to deprive my kids of this awesome experience of witnessing a caterpillar turn into a butterfly and watching ants burrow because it’s such an interest that they have right now,’” he said. “So I went on Amazon.”

To Directly Access This Labor News Story, Go To: www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/us/teachers-school-supplies.html?fbclid=IwAR2Z_NELAfhNM2mpTAQOp1wlPVyCFae2y5i3gc4W5KTUNKTNZvETBkgLgko

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