Digging deeply into teachers’ pockets


Most teachers won’t be surprised to hear this, but the figure nevertheless is large. Teachers throughout the United States spent about $1.6 billion out of their own pockets on supplies and materials for their classrooms during the 2012-13 academic year, a recent survey concludes. That’s a lot of paper, pencils, gluesticks or what have you. And, a lot of budget-cutting and buck-passing by state legislatures and local school districts.

According to the survey by the National School Supply and Equipment Association, a trade group, 99.5 percent of teacher respondents said they spent their own money on classroom needs. On average, respondents reported spending $485 each on instructional materials, school supplies and other classroom items. Only about 400 teachers – elementary, middle and high school – participated in the survey. So, some extrapolation was used to come up with $1.6 billion. I don’t doubt such a high figure, however.

Three years ago, the last time TSTA surveyed on this issue, our members reported spending an average of $564 a year of their own money on classroom supplies and materials.

You can read more about the survey by clicking on this Education Week article:



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2 Responses to Digging deeply into teachers’ pockets

  1. Dr. Ed Fuller says:

    If the 400 respondents were randomly sampled, then the results for the 400 would generalize to the roughly 3.2 million teachers wit a relatively small margin of error–say maybe +/- $30

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