Submitted: Schools, Please Fix This

As the school year nears its close, I am once again going through piles of unused textbooks, boxes of paper and pencils, pens, and erasers, looseleaf folders, and myriad other items that my children never used once in school.

Of course, I didn’t buy all this stuff for the fun of it; each year, my kids’ schools send us a list of items that my children will need for the upcoming school year. And we are not talking about $40 or $50 worth of stuff. When you have a handful of children, school supplies alone cost in the hundreds of dollars.

I understand that my children’s schools want their students to be well-stocked upon coming into a new year of learning. But there has got to be some sense to it. Year after year, my children are giving me things that never even saw the light of day, dozens upon dozens of items that the schools said they must have, but never even came close to being used.

Now, I know I might be sounding like a thankless grouch, but that’s really not the case. I am extremely thankful for my children’s schools and very appreciative of their teachers. But at the end of the day, it’s not easy swallowing a few extra hundred dollars worth of expenses for no reason!

I’m not swimming in money and every dollar is carefully budgeted and allocated. We aren’t spending a ton of money elsewhere and now have a hard time affording unnecessary school supplies. I simply cannot fathom how schools continue telling parents to get so many items every year when they must know that they will likely never be used.

So school administrators, if you’re reading this, please fix this. Before sending a generic item list of things we should get our children before the next school year, please consider that they can become very costly, very quickly. Go over the list, consider whether certain things are really needed, and remove those that are not.

Better yet, send a list that only contains school supplies that the children will definitely need and if they need further supplies throughout the year, send a note home to the parents that they should please buy the supplies the student will need.



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  1. Excellent point – but completely wasted on this venue. The only way this can change is when many parents complain directly to the school – with specific examples of the ‘offending items’.

  2. First of all, don’t chuck the stuff – most the crayons, pencils, glue and tape are useful for the next year. Secondly, make sure your child goes to school with a basic pencil case and supplies the first day and wait for the individual teacher’s special requests. Those are usually more accurate and relevant for your child’s class.

  3. To chasiedai: I believe what she means/meant is to buy a considerably smaller fraction of what the teachers want the student to have in the beginning of the school year and when more of an item has to be replenished or something new is needed, THEN GO OUT AND BUY. NOT TO OVER BUY in the beginning of the school year only to be stuck with excess items. True, the items don’t go bad and can be reused at a later time.

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