Originally Posted by 1xmom
I remember when I was in school, there was always a list of supplies, now the list has gotten longer. Instead of just making sure your child has a 3-ring notebook, folders, pencils and paper, it has gotten much worse. Things like dry erase markers, I can't imagine a teacher going thru that many if you have a class of 24 and you have to get a 4 pk-even if only 1/2 of the class gets them you would think that would be suffice. I am one of those parents who just shrugs it off and just gets what is on the list. I have been in the classroom and a teacher's job is not easy. If my just getting what is asked helps make my dd's teacher's job just a fraction better than I have no problem doing it.
There is one simple reason times have changed since we were children. Special education and English language learners. When were in school, the services provided to Spec Ed and ELL students were nothing like what they are today.
Districts must now pay for a bevy of lawyers to defend themselves against lawsuits, they have to pay for highly specialized special education teachers, speech therapists, occupational therapists, paraeducators, special education coordinators, IEP directors, ELL teachers, etc. In some areas, districts spend half their yearly budget on these things. When you look at per pupil spending in a district, it will usually appear to increase year after year. However, what you're seeing it an average of per pupil spending that includes every student, including those in self contained classrooms of eight students, two teachers, and three paraeducators. So while it appears that school funding may increase in a given area, the actual resources available to general education teachers are small.
For example, a district near me has one of the highest per pupil spending rates in the country. But it had to spend nearly $20 million just on special education HEARINGS last school year. This just includes IEP meetings, appeals, and grievances. This does not include the actual classroom implementation of IEPs.
Additionally, you're forgetting that President Bush cut funding for Head Start and School lunch programs. Schools can't just tell students, "Sorry, you can't eat." So the costs of feeding children have also increased. Some districts serve such poor areas that 90+% of the students meet the definition of poverty and qualify for free and reduced priced meals.
Let's also thank Pres Bush for the DELIGHTFUL No Child Left Behind Act which has mandated standardized testing at many levels of schooling. States and districts have had to pick up the tab for testing each and every student, usually to the tune of millions of dollars a year.
So, it's easy to sit back and blame a crappy school board or crappy teachers or throw up your hands and say, "When I was a kid, I never had to pay for this stuff." But neither did your school district. Your school district did not have to pay for what it has to pay for today.
A school district can be sued for not complying with a child's IEP. It cannot be sued for failing to provide Kleenex. So in the district's mind, the choice is easy.
Let's keep in mind that the problem is very multi-faceted. Let's work to change things that need to be changed and not rip on people who can't do anything about the 30 (I have had as many as 38) students in a classroom that will be showing up next week (for me, at least) and who need to provide them with the best education possible given very limited time and resources.