Home > General > The Cost of a Free Education

The Cost of a Free Education

Be warned, this post is written by ‘Amber the Mom’ and not ‘Amber the Teacher’ but it is relevant to education.  I have two children entering the public school system this year.  One of my children will be in 4th grade and my youngest is entering kindergarten.  I received both of their class assignments today along with a supply list.  My supply list for my high school students looks like this:

  • Pencil or Pen (I don’t care)
  • Paper
  • Calculator (Graphing would be nice but if you can’t afford it, I will rent one to you for $10 for the entire semester.)

That’s it.  I realize I don’t have art and craft projects or anything of that nature.  Over the years I have obtained classroom sets of rulers, proctractors, and compasses along with colored pencils and scissors, so I’m good to go in my classroom.

My sons’ lists are two pages long.  After a $100 trip to Wal Mart I’m mad!  Not only did my oldest son need 6 plactic folders, but the colors were specified.  He needed purple, red, blue, green, yellow, and black.  I had to go to three stores to find all of the colors.  He needed earbuds for the computer lab and a mini white dry erase board.  He is required to bring a box of dry erase markers, a dry erase board eraser, 3 boxes of Kleenex, paper towels, hand sanitizer, bleach wipes…..and the list goes on! 

The worst is my youngest son’s list.  He had the same list as my older son along with a white t-shirt, a cream pillowcase, a $5 gift card to Wal-Mart.  Did I mention that I am required to pay a $30 school fee per student as well.  I’m rethinking my class supply list.  Do you think I can add a new car to my list?

Categories: General
  1. July 22, 2010 at 2:46 am

    As my HS students would say, OMG! I would not dream of asking my students to buy that much stuff. Dry erase anything is not cheap. Another reason I’m waiting to have the kids myself. 🙂

  2. July 22, 2010 at 4:53 am

    We never got asked for any of that stuff at public school, but then 1/2 the school couldn’t have afforded it. The teachers posted a wish list for things like Kleenex, tape, and other consumables, and those of us who had jobs that paid more than rent money bought them for the class.

    Now at private school, the must-buy list included all that sort of stuff plus hundreds of dollars in text books.

  3. July 28, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Just found your blog via Google Reader on a share – a great find! Really … was this a serious list? Yet another way to show the divide between the have and the have nots. So now you have students worrying about the things their parent/s might not be able to afford and that is not what we want our students worrying about. Shame on the frivolous list 😦

    Should public schools be providing the students with the supplies they need? I tend to think so.

    This reminds me of another great aspect about teaching in Sweden – the system is about creating a fair learning environment to all students. The teacher cannot ask students to bring supplies nor can they ask students to make monetary contributions (example … a class trip) – it is against the law.

    • July 29, 2010 at 12:33 am

      Thanks for the comments. This was a real class list. My son’s school is not a ‘Title I’ school so enough of the kids to do qualify for free and reduced lunch so they assume all the parents can afford this. Crazy! I’m a school teacher and definitly can’t. Sounds like a great system in Sweden. I wonder if their taxes are higher to help with the costs.

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