Back to School: Why not give public school parents a $95.00 voucher for classroom supplies
A Spokesman-Review editorial this week laments the awkward summer ritual of teachers, sometimes assisted by parents and charities, having to spend their own money to provide basic classroom supplies. As the editorial notes, "The problem is that lawmakers have underfunded basic education for so long." Two things are surprising about this statement.
First, it is surprising that the long-term policy of underfunding basic education as occurred under a series of liberal governors, all of whom said that funding education was their top priority.
Second, it is surprising that in public education, but not other professions, the practice of failing to provide basic workplace supplies for front-line employees is tolerated and excused. Does UPS make its delivery drivers buy their own gas? Do office workers have to bring their own pens and printer paper to work? Of course not.
Just one tenth of the money added to the education budget this session would buy a year's worth of supplies for every public school student in the state. Only in public education do district managers short their employees on basic supplies and make teachers spend their own money on classroom needs, or seek charity to fill the gap.
As a solution, why not have school districts provide public school parents with a classroom supplies voucher of, say, $95.00 a year to make sure children have what they need to arrive at school ready to learn?
Education officials should make sure parents and teachers have everything they need to help children learn now, before they direct money to other parts of the budget. As the Spokesman-Review rightly puts it, "What could be more basic...?"