Back to School Supply lists in Primary Education are Lame

Back to school for the kids fairly soon, and of course I have a classroom supply list. Here is what is on it for my 5th grader:
[ul]
[li]Heavy duty binder (1.5 inch or 2 inch, no zippers)[/li][li]3-4 large glue sticks[/li][li]1 pair scissors[/li][li]1 white eraser[/li][li]3 dozen #2 already sharpened pencils[/li][li]1 box colored pencils - 24 count[/li][li]1 box Crayola crayons - 24 count[/li][li]pack of thin tip dry erase markers[/li][li]1 12" plastic ruler, inches and centimeters, flat plastic, not bendable[/li][li]5 packages of 3"x5" lined index cards[/li][li]2 packs of 8.5x11" wide ruled binder paper[/li][li]Nylon zippered pencil pouch with 3 gromments[/li][li]1 pencil sharpener with casing for shavings[/li][li]3-2 pocket folders with holes punched to fit in binder[/li][li]8-8.5x10" one subject spiral notebook - solid colors prefered[/li][li]Package of red ballpoint pens[/li][li]Package of yellow highlighters[/li][/ul]

I’ll start by saying I have no problem and gladly would provide anything that is needed for the classroom. But here’s the rub, that’s a detailed list. There are 25-30 students, and I would think it’s much more efficient to purchase those items in bulk and distribute them in class, then having 25-30 parents go to various stores all over town to try and get the specific items on the list. But what’s even worse, is these supplies are not student specific. The teachers will inevitably collect all the supplies, then throughout the year distribute them as needed.

So while I’ll provide extra pencil pouches because they may come in a multi pack, midway through the year my kid will tell me they never got a pencil pouch because there weren’t enough. I’ll purchase the quality of supplies that I would like to use, and some other person for reasons their own will provide lower quality supplies, and then my kid gets the dregs.

I say, if the class appreciates the efficiency of having a supply cache, and also values uniformity in the supplies, they should request cash instead, and purchase supplies for the entire classroom. This makes the buying more efficient, more cost effective, and ensures that kids get the same things. This supply list may cost me, $50. I’d gladly give $50 for my portion. I’d gladly give $500 if they asked for it. But instead I’ll be looking for pencils, presharpening them, and also providing a manual pencil sharpener. I mean shit, wouldn’t a electric pencil sharpener be much more efficient?

This can’t be the best way.

And yes, I also give straight up cash to the school and classroom as well, through my company, who matches the donation 100%.

I’d never heard of them pooling the resources. We all just brought our own supplies and used them, with the teachers having some for the less fortunate.

They don’t have the hand-crank pencil sharpeners attached to the wall anymore?

This has generally been the rule at my kids’ schools over the past several years.

None of my kids’ classrooms have had these. They don’t have chalkboards anymore, either – just whiteboards.

You know how long it take 25 kids to line up and sharpen their pencils?

Probably about as long as it took when we did it when I was in school. Are the kids that much slower now than back then?

I’d gladly provide 5 electric sharpeners if they need them. What I do know is that we don’t need 25 individual pencil sharpeners.

And yes, ever since my kids have been in school, they always pool all the supplies. I’m generally fine with it because it sucks to be the kid that doesn’t have anything so that alleviates that issue. But this everyone bring and then pool is a half measure. They should actually pool dollars to make the process even more efficient.

It’s not but unless and until people start voting for elected officials who will fund education adequately, it’s what we’ve got. If it makes you feel better, the teacher usually covers any shortfalls out of their own pocket.

Yeah it’s kind of weird in this day of affordable shipping and, well, Amazon, that schools aren’t collecting money (even on a sliding scale), having the teachers purchase what is needed and doling out supplies.

I’m never going to say that teachers need more work assigned to them, but I don’t see how there’s much difference in complexity between ordering, unpacking and distributing versus collecting, probably filling in the gaps and distributing.

Then again, the concept of pooled supplies is also foreign to me. But it does sound good from an equality standpoint.

At my kid’s school, it’s a mixed bag. They pool stuff like boxes of tissue or glue sticks but the kids use their own folders, notebooks, loose leaf paper and pencils.

Besides the obvious benefit, I can bet it’s also easier for the teacher to distribute yellow highlighters to the kids when the lesson calls for it rather than watch twenty kids dig around in the back of their desk or book bag for the marker they last used two weeks ago.

I think most of us have seen the recent news that, in some opinions, guns and ammo belong on your list.

And you just KNOW you’re going to send the kid off with a $2,500 custom rifle and he’ll come back at Christmas break with some other kid’s Saturday Night Special.

wait are you getting the "recommended "school list or the official?

The reasons I say this is the stores Walmart, target ect put up their own back to school lists and they were huge when we looked up the official school list all you needed was one of the "back to school "kits that had every thing in a pencil box (pencils sharpner scissors ruler and gluestick and a couple of other things )

only thing extra we needed was some pocket folders and crayons oh and Kleenex

the stores would of had you spending 50 bucks on unused stuff…

My daughter’s school collects money and provides the students with supplies.

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Usually when I see those at Wal-Mart it actually is a list from the school and they have half a dozen lists from the various nearby schools.

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It used to be quite common for high schools to have a gun range in the basement.

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Or, the teacher could ask for money instead. Problem solved.

For example, we also have a parent/faculty club that does a lot of activity around the school. Fundraisers, extra curricular, our music and arts programs, computer lab, etc. Each year they say how much they spend per student and ask for cash donations, as much as a person could afford. They do this in lieu of more regular requests for money, like, if you kick in $200 now, then we won’t ask for more money during the year. That’s great, I top it off and good to go.

From the school directly. The actual teacher really since it’s passed out at school when classrooms are assigned.

I remember the days of the very long supply list. I never really understood it because my daughter never had to bring it all to school, the idea was bring in the initial supplies and then if you run out you have replacements at home. A lot of good that’s going to do if you run out of loose leaf and other things you need halfway through an assignment. I know some teachers collect all the loose leaf they ask the kids to bring in and distribute it as necessary. I love the idea of just having the school buy everything in bulk and having the kids purchase it right there. That way the teachers can make sure they are getting exactly what’s required, some teachers are very specific with what they will accept. I knew one teacher that used to have the kids bring everything into school. She kept plastic bins marked with each child’s name and it contained all of their extra supplies. If Johnny needed a highlighter or Mary needed an eraser they quietly went to their bins and got what they needed.

My daughter always got a list from the grade level teachers, in fact, it would often come home in her final report card envelope from the end of the prior year.

I attended a middle-class school, so we had TWO wall-mounted pencil sharpeners. Much faster.

On a different side of this subject…

Who is using crayons, colored pencils, and other similar stuff in the fifth grade? Are they doing Venn diagrams or something similar? We were way the heck beyond drawing pictures (especially any that required crayons) in the fifth grade. The entire time I was in the fifth grade, I used plain #2 pencils (no pens, no crayons, no highlighters, no red pens, etc.) I just needed pencils (three or four were plenty for the year) and lined notebook paper. Every few weeks we might need unlined paper, but never more than a few times a month.

And, by the way, you kids get off my lawn!