I just got done having a conversation with the wife of a school teacher. As part of her husband's job as a 4th grade science teacher, he has to do experiments every week for a bunch of 4th graders. 88 pairs. The experiments are written to conform to whatever standards are handed down from on high, and are not written by him. He doesn't get to choose them. He gets a $50 budget. For the year. Total, not per kid. They are spending almost half his inadequate paycheck on supplies for these experiments. We sat there brain storming with her on how she can find deals, fund raise, get donations from local businesses, etc. But the fact of the matter is, that's such a unreasonable requirement, I'm shocked it's in any way legal. The person coming up with these experiments has no science or education background. She just knew the right people, got into this position, hands down orders that he's not allowed to disobey.
I asked, "What happens if he says on week two that he's already spent his budget and he needs more money?" She said, "Then next year he won't have a job."
Also the standards are changing so all the stuff they buy this year won't be used next year. They've already been told this.
She told me that the district provided 17 seats/desks for a 21 kid class. That they were required to spend money out of their own pocket to buy the other seats. She said this was normal and they've had to do this every year that he's been teaching in various school districts. That they are required to set up a reading nook in the corner of the class room but the school provides no books. That they buy tons of books every year. That sometimes the kids are required to do a project all based on the same book, but the school doesn't provide those. That scholastic runs a sale in the summer for teachers but the teachers rarely know what book will be needed for these group projects that far in advance.
I was outraged and she just shrugged and said that this is the norm. She just moved to this area not too long ago and before that lived in Chicago. She told me several stories from her time there that were even worse than this.
You always hear stories about corrupt wasteful systems, and teachers who spend a fortune of their own money. I always assumed the teachers were spending money on things like wipe off markers and decoration and organization stuff for their classrooms. Extras that make the classroom a good place to be. I didn't realize they were being REQUIRED by the school to spend huge chunks of their own money to do the basics of their jobs, or to buy DESKS AND CHAIRS for the kids. Desks and chairs the district could for sure afford if they weren't wasting it on some other stupid thing that no one needs or will use.
This isn't some inner city poor school either. This is a school distract people talk about being one of the better in the area.
I dunno, maybe this isn't news to a lot of you. I'm just surprised at how much worse it was than I even thought.