Teachers in Texas or Big Hearts, Empty Wallets

It’s about teachers. Everywhere. But because it’s in our backyard – ok, it’s in my backyard – it’s specifically about TEXAS TEACHERS.

Seems a new report from MyElearningWorld estimates that during the 2022-23 academic year, public school teachers in Texas will collectively spend $298 million on out-of-pocket classroom expenses for items like books, pencils, snacks, décor, and cleaning supplies. Texas teachers outspend those in any other state when it comes to pouring money back into their classrooms!

Do you have school aged children? Do you send the supplies requested by the school? I know. I get it. We pay taxes to support schools, but you see, it appears the state has bailed on a lot of money that should have gone to schools so someone has to pick up the slack. I don’t like it either but I have a daughter who is a teacher. In Texas. And a niece. And a nephew. And another niece. All in Texas.

With over 320,000 teachers in Texas, that’s between $850 – $930 per teacher. They have to purchase their own cleaning supplies! That makes me angry!!! Why are we surprised about the shortage of teachers? Seventy percent of them are considering giving up the profession according to a survey from the Texas State Teachers Association. Wonder how much we paid for the survey?

Do you purchase Lysol, toilet paper and paper towels for your employer? Of course you don’t! So why is it ok that our teachers do? Consider how expensive Lysol is or how important it is during a pandemic Think about how difficult it was to find during the first year and a half of life with Covid. And think about a teacher taking money from her family to protect students in her classroom from germs. Why?

Well, you’ll be pleased to learn there are reasons that teachers purchase their own supplies. None of them are good reasons, so they fall more into the category of excuses. Nothing reasonable about this. Inexcusable too, now that I think about it.

1) Classrooms are underfunded by the district. Hard to believe. Have you ever known a new school to be built in your district only to learn that it’s already too small for the number of children that will attend when the doors are open? Happens all the time. Wonder how difficult it is to secure all those portable buildings that take care of the overflow? But that’s school safety. We’ll save that for another day.

2) School budgets are badly mismanaged. Less difficult to believe.

3) Administrators lack awareness regarding student/classroom needs. Totally unbelievable. No. Not really. We all walk around unaware at times. I don’t want to be judgmental, but neither do I want to stick my head in the sand.

And did you know that a teacher can deduct only $300 in classroom expenses on their federal tax returns.

Now you may think this has nothing to do with politics but I disagree. Your school board members are elected. They depend on your vote and your tax dollars. Check out the portion of your property taxes that are set aside for your local school district. Doesn’t the largest portion of your taxes go to the school district?

Have you ever been to a school board meeting? Me neither but I think I’ll have to sit in on one.

There’s so much more to cover here but I’m tired and disgusted. Surely you have a teacher in your family. Ask some questions. Show some appreciation. And don’t take my word for it. Do your own research.

This rant is far from over. 🥴

So, tell me what you think!

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