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American teachers were 'forced' to spend $3 billion from their pockets in 2023, sparking fierce debate

It has become common for teachers to not wait for the school administration to spend on school supplies but many are fighting against it.

American teachers were 'forced' to spend $3 billion from their pockets in 2023, sparking fierce debate
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Nappy; Reddit | u/JBones26

It's not just the challenge of handling school kids and planning the syllabus that makes a teacher's job strenuous. Many teachers on the internet rant about how school management makes their job more difficult with lesser pay and unreasonable expectations. It's widely known that teachers frequently reach into their own pockets to compensate for their school's resource shortages. The topic of teachers spending hundreds of dollars from their own pockets to buy school supplies or things that students require has caused a stir on the internet. A Reddit user, u/GotTime4That, shared a survey revealing U.S. teachers' total out-of-pocket spending in 2023, sparking a fiery debate across the internet. Representative Image Source: Pexels | Frans Van Heerden

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Frans Van Heerden

In a research conducted by My eLearning World about "Teachers' Out-Of-Pocket Expenses On Classroom Supplies," it was found that many teachers teaching kindergarten to 12th grade spent $3.24 billion in 2023. That is, the average teacher spent $853.90 of their own on school supplies last year. These expenses have grown in 2023 compared to 2022 showing how worse is the burden for educators. What is the responsibility of the school management and the parents is falling on the teachers nowadays. If one thinks that the teachers can bring these expenses under tax education, they're wrong. Educators are doling out 2.8 times the amount permitted for tax deductions.

Image Source: My eLearning World
Image Source: My eLearning World

The study segregated the average expenses teachers make on class decors, food and snacks, prizes, cleaning supplies, consumables and non-consumables. Compared to the maximum deduction a teacher can achieve for these expenses, it seemed they were spending a significant portion of their salaries for their class. The research revealed that despite the lack of increase in teachers' salaries due to inflation, their out-of-pocket spending has increased. So, when these survey results were shared on Reddit, hundreds of teachers and families of teachers voiced out this issue. Since people were concerned as to why teachers voluntarily spend so much, some shared how much they had to spend for school supplies out of necessity. Others strongly suggested teachers not spend their own money and stand up for themselves against such ignorant school administration.

Image Source: Reddit | u/krom0025
Image Source: Reddit | u/krom0025
Image Source: Reddit | u/DARKSTAIN
Image Source: Reddit | u/DARKSTAIN

"Spouse teaches high school. We spend $200-300/month on supplies and snacks at Costco for the classes because the kids are hungry and can't focus. Don't get me wrong, happy to help these kids but the deduction saves us at most $100/year," wrote u/Bighorn21. "My wife is a teacher here in the US. The amount of money we've spent on school supplies and snacks for these kids so they have stuff to eat each year would amaze," commented u/JBones26.

Image Source: Reddit | u/FordenGord
Image Source: Reddit | u/FordenGord
Image Source: Reddit | u/PrinceOfSpace94
Image Source: Reddit | u/PrinceOfSpace94

"I was given a lab budget of $400. I told admin that as a high school science teacher, we were going to hit that in November. Admin told me to 'figure it out.' I was able to stretch it out to January. Then, no more labs. Parents started to complain. Admin came to me about it. 'I have no more money in the budget.' I'll never forget my administrator trying to stare me down. I smiled and shrugged. I stood my ground. Teachers need to stop spending their own money, period. When classrooms look like garbage and nothing fun happens, admin will find the funds," commented u/jenryalee. "Why do teachers pay for those things though? Like if the school doesn’t want to pay for stuff, the teacher shouldn’t subsidize it in any way, it’s not their responsibility to pay for those things, and they’re just there to teach some classes," commented u/Auzquandiance.

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