I am not a naturally great gift giver. I have resorted to following the same Instagram fashion bloggers as my wife in order to come up with gift ideas for every occasion. Recently, I have noticed that some of the larger ones have begun posting teacher Amazon Wishlists. I have also seen a few of my own teacher friends post their own Amazon Wishlists on social media in an effort to solicit benefactors for their classroom. This is nothing new. DonorsChoose has essentially served the same function for years. However, there is one key difference I am starting to notice more every year. In the past, a lot of these wish lists were reserved for supplies related to special projects. Now teachers are using them for classroom necessities like pencils and paper. That is not the way it is supposed to be.
Public education is supposed to be a right in this country. Not only is it a right, but it is also the most important investment in the future we have. Something that important should be given all necessary funding. The fact that teachers are resorting to asking their social networks for donations to fund their basic classroom needs shows that isn’t happening.
I have no issue with a school telling a technology teacher they don’t have the money for thirty-two extra laptops for his pet coding project. The social studies teacher might not need that fancy new globe with a touch screen interface. The English teacher doesn’t need a new classroom set of novels every year. The math teacher doesn’t need those cool decorations to make her classroom Pinterest-perfect. But have we really reached a point where supplies like folders, pencils, rulers, and paper are no longer provided for teachers? According to what teachers are increasingly asking for, it appears so. I know they aren’t lying because I pay for those items out of pocket, too.
I don’t blame the bloggers for sharing the wish lists of their teacher followers, nor do I blame the teachers for asking. However, it is alarming how comfortable everyone appears to be with moving classroom essentials to the realm of charity.
Teachers are currently asking for donations for the essential materials to do their job.
If you go back to that above sentence and replace the word “teacher” with firemen, engineers, police officers, soldiers, or any other critical employee in our infrastructure, we would sound like an undeveloped country. But since it says “teacher,” it is a chance for retweets and an “opportunity” for the community to come together and show how much they value education. That’s BS. Once we declare something to be a right or an essential public good, we should be beyond having to rally around it every year to make sure it works.
If you are uncomfortable with the idea of police, firemen, EMTs or civil engineers having to make an Amazon Wishlist for their needs then you ought to be uncomfortable with teachers having to do it, too.