Editorial: Teachers shouldn’t have to struggle for school supplies

There is no doubt that the goal of helping teachers get extra money for school supplies was sincere. But whoever came up with the idea of ​​scrambling 10 teachers for dollar bills clearly hasn’t given this one a thought.

This happened during a minor league hockey game last weekend in Sioux Falls, SD Ten teachers, wearing helmets and arm guards, had five minutes to put as much money as possible into their clothes. The teachers were on a mat in the middle of the ice as the game fans cheered on them.

According to the Internet, the 10 teachers raised between $ 378 and $ 616. Several of them seemed happy with the event and were happy to discuss what they were planning to buy with the money they had raised.

Good for these 10 gladiators. And good for the local mortgage company who donated $ 5,000 for the event. The company receives a lot of national publicity for its money, some unflattering, as critics have correctly likened the competition to something straight out of “Squid Game” or “The Hunger Games.”

It probably wasn’t too hard to find 10 teachers willing to scramble for a few hundred dollars for their classrooms. But here’s the confusing thing: How come no one seemed to be thinking about the needs of the other teachers in the Sioux Falls area, probably a few hundred at least, who weren’t chosen to participate? What about supplies for their students?

You can already guess the answers:

• School budgets are huge and keep growing. True. Education, both public and private, has become a multi-million dollar business.

• Teachers’ remuneration has increased. Also true. The average salary for teachers in South Dakota is among the lowest in the country, but is still around $ 48,000 per year. It is fair to note that this compensation is generally for nine or 10 months of work each year instead of 12 months. And whatever the measure, a salary of $ 48,000 is a decent living. Maybe not the best, but certainly not the worst.

Still, it’s hard to imagine another profession where employees would have to invest some of their own money so that 20 other people – their students – have the supplies they need.

Shouldn’t teachers be able to depend on their employers – and by extension, taxpayers or tuition payers who ultimately provide the funding – for appropriate supplies? Having 10 teachers fighting for dollar bills in an ice rink is a strong signal that schools are not doing it.

There is significant competition for all the millions of dollars spent on education, and any experienced teacher knows that one of the first items to be cut from a school’s budget is school supplies. Policymakers hope that teachers or donors will make up the difference, and they are usually right.

The hockey team and the mortgage company should take the initiative to seek sponsors for every teacher’s class supplies in the Sioux Falls area. It would create a lot more goodwill than grabbing money in an ice rink.

– Jack Ryan, McComb Enterprise-Journal


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