Many teachers routinely spend money out of their own pockets on necessity items for their students, according to a nationwide survey conducted by AdoptAClassroom.org.
The organization surveyed 1,188 K-12 teachers from public, private and charter schools throughout the country, and found that the vast majority of teachers -- 91 percent -- reported purchasing things for their students that ranged from food and snacks, to personal care items like toothbrushes and soap.
“This survey of our teachers makes one thing abundantly clear: teachers are not only educating students, but through their out-of-pocket purchases, teachers are tackling major social issues such as homelessness, poverty, hunger and teaching students basic life skills,” said James Rosenberg, founder of AdoptAClassroom.org. “Again and again, we see it happen -- when society lets kids down, it’s teachers who step in to fill the gap.”
According to a news release, more than 15 million children in the United States live in households that can’t provide all the resources they need to succeed in school. Previous research has found teachers spend up to $1,000 each year on these items, a total of $1.3 billion.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the items teachers reported buying for their students, according to the AdoptAClassroom survey results:
<strong>91 percent</strong> of teachers buy basic school supplies for their students.
<strong>2 in 3</strong> teachers <strong>(67%)</strong> purchase food or snacks to satisfy the basic nutritional needs of their students -- even ones who are already enrolled in their schools' free or reduced-price meal program.
<strong>1 in 3</strong> teachers purchase clothing for children, including jackets, hats and gloves <strong>(30%)</strong> or shoes and shoe laces <strong>(15%)</strong>.
<strong>18 percent</strong> of teachers purchase personal care items, such as toothbrushes and sanitary products.
Nearly <strong>1 in 3</strong> teachers <strong>(29%)</strong> purchase items such as toilet paper and soap that their school cannot provide enough of due to budget cuts.
<strong>More than half</strong> of all teachers have paid the costs of field trips for students who couldn't afford to participate otherwise.
<strong>Several teachers</strong> reported purchasing alarm clocks for students. Due to work schedules or family circumstances, guardians were unable to wake their children for school, which led to absences and academic underperformance.