Local School Makes Students Buy 96 Pencils; Is That Too Much?
While shopping for back-to-school supplies I was shocked to find out just how many items we were being asked to purchase.
As students prepare for the first day of school, parents are scrambling to make sure their kids have everything they need to start off on the right foot. That includes new shoes, clothes, haircuts and a long list of school supplies. This year, however, that list seems to be longer than usual and some of the items appear to be downright excessive.
While looking through my son's sixth grade supply list I was shocked to find out that he was required to have eight dozen pencils. Not only that, but the pencils needed to be a specific brand and all be pre-sharpened. That's a total of 96 sharpened pencils, which means my son would have more than one new pencil for every two days of school. I don't know about you, but that seems a bit much.
After discussing this crazy pencil requirement with other parents, some suggested that the reason for the abundance of pencils could be to make up for other kids who can't afford to send in school supplies. Even if that's true, requiring 96 pencils still seems excessive.
Say there are 30 kids in the class and only half of them wind up buying school supplies while the other half brings in absolutely nothing. That would still mean that the class would have 1440 pencils for the year totaling 48 pencils per student, or more than one pencil per kid every week. In reality, I'm pretty confident that more than half of the parents in my son's class are doing at least some sort of back-to-school shopping, so that means there's going to be a windfall of pencils this year.
I'm fortunate enough to be able to afford whatever supplies my son needs and certainly have no problem pitching in when it comes to supplies for the rest of the class. Whenever my son mentions that his teacher is out of glue sticks, tissues or other items we always go to the store and put together a package for him to bring to school. When the book fair comes to town I also make sure to send in extra money for the teacher so they can make sure every kid is able to get a book, even if their parent can't afford it -- but I still can't seem to wrap my head around needing to buy 96 pencils.
If the real reason this crazy requirement is put in place is to help out less fortunate students, I believe it actually makes things worse for their parents. Can you imagine being on a limited budget and finding out that your child needs to come to school with 8 dozen pencils, 14 sticky note pads, name-brand Lysol wipes, endless glue sticks, pens, markers erasers and other supplies? Our bill was almost $200, and we purchased everything early and on sale. I would feel terrible if I wasn't able to get my son everything he was required to have for the school year.
Perhaps teachers should list the basic requirements and then ask parents who can afford it to pitch in extra supplies for other students who need them. That way, those who are just getting by would feel like they could actually afford what their child needs for school and be more likely to buy the required items. Most of the parents I know would be happy to send in extra supplies or money to make up for the other students who still weren't able to get what they need.
I know there are teachers who spend their own money on school supplies and that's a shame. We should all do what we can to help out, especially if we can afford it. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also teaches your children compassion and the importance of pitching in. However, I'm still confident that 96 pencils are just way too many.
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