Does This Ruffle Your Feathers?

A new school year always brings change: new students, new curriculum, new goals, staff changes, new district-wide policies and the list goes on. We all know that change is difficult. Yet, there is one change in our local school district of 69 elementary schools that has baffled teachers and ruffled quite a few feathers.

In past years teachers created their own school supply lists. Not this year. This year the district distributed a standardized list of student school supplies for each grade level. To the best of my knowledge, teachers had no say in what went on these lists. For example, no list at the elementary level requires antibacterial wipes, baby wipes, or hand sanitizer. No highlighters are on any of the lists. Here’s another quandary. Every student in kindergarten through fifth grade is required to provide four folders (with prongs). Does a kindergartner need the same number of folders as a fifth grader? I’m not sure, however it seems unlikely. Oh, and all erasers must be pencil toppers!

Okay, I’ll admit it. Mandating what school supplies a teacher can have ruffles my feathers. It seems both restricting and wasteful.

Your opinion, please.

Squawk, squawk!



13 thoughts on “Does This Ruffle Your Feathers?

  1. While it was nice to have a foundation of supplies, the grade level teams should be able to ask for the specifics they require.

  2. It is a plus that the district does see the need for supplies. They should have gotten teacher input for what was needed/used.

  3. Most of my families have limited resources so I am very careful about what I ask for. I only ask for a few important items that the school does not have on hand. This would be terrible – I would have a million useless folders and nothing else!

  4. Our school district is even worse. They put out the same kind of list as you are stating but claim that the school district will supply everything else. K – 5th graders need 4 items only, middle school has about 8 items, and high school about ten. Grade school doesn’t even need any pencils. It’s ridiculous, things will be needed and asked for later. I’ve worked in the schools, I know how much the district doesn’t pay for and how much the teachers end up buying. Now it will be even worse.

  5. My district did that except they asked the teachers to make the lists for each grade level as a team in each school. Then they combined the lists together for each grade. Every year my students come in with a bunch of stuff they don’t need. We are not allowed to ask them to buy anything else either. It is ridiculous!

  6. I’m glad I teach at a small Christian school! One year we got too much hand sanitizer and asked for something different the following year. We are able to tailor our list to fit our needs as well as not burdening parents with supplying useless items.

  7. Big Government at it’s finest. The school board and districts do this all the time, the bureaucrats know what’s best and the teachers are marginalized. That’s just plain wrong. Thankfully, the teachers still get to make the lists for their classes in my wife’s school district. In addition, we are blessed to belong to Peace Lutheran Church and one of their outreach missions is to support the member teachers so my wife’s class was well stocked with necessities.

  8. I agree; it is restrictive and wasteful. Hopefully your district will recognize it’s mistake and “fix” the problem for the following school year! It’s been my experience that even in the best circumstances I always end up purchasing extra supplies!

  9. I’m going to ruffle more feathers.

    I think most teachers ask for too much stuff. Pencils, paper, erasers, glue are highly desirable and in great demand. There is no need for most of the other stuff to be provided every year. All of the organizational items:folders, dividers, pencil box, etc. are generally misused or used incorrectly. Seniors in HS are, for the most part, no better organized than second graders despite years of “putting everything in color-coded folders”. Markers are rarely used, and generally are a source of distraction for many kiddos.

    I’ve been on all sides of the issue, and have seen the waste EVERY year. Time wasted, tons of materials left in teacher closets, folders never used, You all know the teacher who has such a stash.

    Scissors, rulers, etc. as a class set should be provided by the school. Give each kiddo a file folder or a sheet of construction paper to fold in half to put papers in, and move on to the fun of learning.

    I personally don’t care for sanitizer for health issues. Soap and water at a bathroom break, with “hot” learning while in line.

  10. I am a retired teacher who now works parttime for a company that sells school supplies. I have been aghast at how much parents have to spend on folders and binders for grade school and middle school. The middle schoolers have told me that each subject teacher requires a binder for each of these classes. They have to carry them each day. One told me they could not bring in backpacks. The elementary parents said their child has to have a different color folder for each subject. I taught in an International School that catered to 6 Asian cultures. They had the best solution since it would have been hard to explain in each language what was needed so the school had a registration fee for school supplies. The teachers made a list and the school was able to buy in bulk. The teacher controlled the use of paper, pens, pencils, crayons, scissors, ect.. The supplies belonged to the classroom and not the student. There was no fight over whose supplies belonged to whom. The supplies were not wasted. When I returned to the States to teach I told our Principal about this method. I was able to buy the needed supplies for my 2nd, 3rd or 4th graders depending on which grade I was teaching at $10 per student for the year. I only needed 3 plastic folders: homework, classwork, and a Friday file folder for carrying tests and quizzes back and forth from school to home plus the already mentioned overall classroom supplies. Fancy supplies or an abundance of supplies does not make better students.

  11. I think it’s great for the standardized list. The teacher can always sent a note home with
    the kids that has items that she would like to request also.

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