In many areas, budget cuts have limited public school funding and parents are increasingly unable to provide necessary supplies for students. HuffPost Live hosted a discussion on how costs of public education, commonly believed to be free for all children, have encroached on families and teachers. One guest believed that teachers often bear the brunt of this issue.
"I taught for eight years in a school that had 98 percent free and reduced lunches," Traci Arway explained to host Ricky Camilleri. "Our parents had to choose between putting food on their table or buying a notebook -- I'm going to buy the notebook for the kid. We had uniforms. The kids couldn't afford the uniforms -- I'm going to buy the uniform for the kid. I'm lucky enough to be able to afford that."
Arway and her husband, who taught high school in the same Columbus, Oh. neighborhood, also helped students earn money for dances and school activities.
"Kids wanted to go to prom and they wanted to go to homecoming. And we weren't giving them money, but we were helping them earn it. 'Come mow our yard, come rake our leaves, we'll give you money if you do.' You know, 'earn it, but we'll help you by getting you the opportunity to earn the money,'" she said.
Given the complexity of the issues facing her school and students, Arway didn't attribute the problem to a single cause. "I don't think this is a 'the parents aren't doing what they're supposed to' or 'the teachers aren't doing what they're supposed to' issue. I think that the standards of education have changed, and I think the parents are doing what they can," she said. "Teachers are giving what they can."