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:
[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%.