Perhaps you’ve seen by now the epic rant of the mom ripping through Target, filling her basket with goods and insisting that if her kid’s teacher wants a mother cussing microwave, she’s going to get her a mother cussing microwave.
It’s awesome, right? The way she takes down everyone complaining about buying school supplies and says teachers deserve every darn thing they want to make their classrooms function.
Well, she’s not wrong. But she’s not exactly right, either.
First, to be clear: Yes. Teachers DO deserve everything they need to make their classrooms function. And more than a few treats on the side. I’m fortunate enough to be able to buy the supplies on my kids’ school lists without suffering. I purchase the folders and protractors and pencils and cleaning supplies cheerfully, even. And I’ve been known to drop by the office with a load of copy paper fresh from Costco.
Bless the teachers
But what I think gets lost in the video rant is this: How is it that teachers in America are at the mercy of parents’ good will and budgets to stock basic supplies in the classroom?
These are educated professionals. Can you imagine if your lawyer sent you out to buy legal pads? Or your doctor issued a list of cleaning supplies you needed to bring for your next appointment? Or if you went to your supply closet at work and found just lint and a note from management telling you to ask your customers to please donate a box of Sharpie pens?
I can’t imagine it’s pleasant for teachers to have to ask parents to provide the tools they need to do their jobs. But somehow, the free, universal education our nation has always promised and benefited from gets a little less free every year.
Our teachers, bless them, dig more into their own pockets to make up the difference. And parents pitch in where they can. We do this because we value public education. We believe public neighborhood schools are the glue of our communities and we all benefit when all of our children are well-educated.
I’ll keep buying everything on my kids’ school list. But I’ll also be voting for the candidates who value public education as much as I do. I’ll be voting for the people who know our kids’ teachers deserve everything they need to make their classrooms function.
And they shouldn’t have to beg for it.