Sunday, February 26, 2017

One NJ Teacher's Response to DeVos' Criticism That We Are Brainwashing Children


Dear former students, 

I would like to take this time to formally apologize for brainwashing all of you. I apologize for the teaching of Walt Whitman who said to "filter" from all what you have learned; I apologize for teaching Thoreau who believed in the majority of one; I apologize for Emerson and his belief in the interconnectedness of all life; I apologize for Ben Franklin and fellow skeptics. 

I apologize for the viewpoints of many women, Edith Wharton, Kate Chopin, Emily Dickinson, Alice Walker. I apologize for understanding the plights of African Americans in such plays as Fences and Raisin in the Sun; for reading Cicero, Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Plato, Jefferson, and Paine - writers who dared to question authority. For this, I'm truly sorry. 

I apologize for allowing such works as The Great Gatsby to question the hallowed state of The American Dream. I apologize for teaching the true story of Pocahontas. I apologize for Hemingway's bottle, Faulkner's Emily, and Path's suicide. 

I apologize for assigning the essays and the poems and the stories and the recitals. I also want to apologize to my journalism students who sought out facts and the truth and the stories of the marginalized and voiceless while all the while winning awards and acting as the 4th Estate. What an idiot, I have been! 

I truly did not know what I was doing. Perhaps the new Education Secretary can provide for me a suitable curriculum. She can provide a can, and I can open the can to feed those poor in spirit. Until then, I'll ponder, in the words of Cicero, "Quo usque tandem aubutere, DeVos, patientia nostra?" I hope all of you can forgive my trespasses and moral lapse of judgment. 

Sincerely regretful, 

Walter Thomas Bowne

My Students Pay Every Day for Their “Free” Lunch By: Melissa Marini Svigelj-Smith




Originally posted at: https://msvigeljsmith.wordpress.com/2017/02/25/my-students-pay-every-day-for-their-free-lunch/   

When Billionaire Betsy Devos, the woman who bought the Secretary of Education position in Donald Trump’s administration, addressed attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, she received a lot of criticism from people who actually care about children for a remark she made in which she claimed to be the first person to tell Bernie Sanders “to his face that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Although her comment was meant to be humorous, those of us who possess an ounce of humanity know that there is nothing funny about children living in poverty. However, this may be the one and only time that I can actually agree with the literal words of Betsy Devos. There is no such thing as a free lunch. In fact, my kids pay every day.
      According to a 2016 report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 1 in 4 kids in Ohio, about 600,000 children, are living in poverty.  In the city that I teach in, Cleveland, 53.2% of children are living in poverty. Our children absolutely pay every single day of their lives for the meager opportunity to have a “free lunch.” They may not be paying with the currency that Betsy DeVos and her wealthy cronies value, but they are paying in many other ways that matter so much more. Below are just a few examples from the American Psychological Association:
Effects of child poverty
  • Poverty is linked with negative conditions such as substandard housing, homelessness, inadequate nutrition and food insecurity, inadequate child care, lack of access to health care, unsafe neighborhoods, and under-resourced schools which adversely impact our nation’s children.
  • Poorer children and teens are also at greater risk for several negative outcomes such as poor academic achievement, school dropout, abuse and neglect, behavioral and socioemotional problems, physical health problems, and developmental delays.
  • Economists estimate that child poverty costs an estimated $500 billion a year to the U.S. economy; reduces productivity and economic output by 1.3 percent of GDP; raises crime and increases health expenditure (Holzer et al., 2008).
Poverty and academic achievement
  • Chronic stress associated with living in poverty has been shown to adversely affect children’s concentration and memory which may impact their ability to learn.
  • The academic achievement gap for poorer youth is particularly pronounced for low-income African American and Hispanic children compared with their more affluent White peers.
Poverty and psychosocial outcomes
  • Children living in poverty are at greater risk of behavioral and emotional problems.
  • Unsafe neighborhoods may expose low-income children to violence which can cause a number of psychosocial difficulties. Violence exposure can also predict future violent behavior in youth which places them at greater risk of injury and mortality and entry into the juvenile justice system.
Poverty and physical health
Children and teens living in poorer communities are at increased risk for a wide range of physical health problems:
  • Low birth weight
  • Poor nutrition which is manifested in the following ways:
    1. Inadequate food which can lead to food insecurity/hunger
    2. Lack of access to healthy foods and areas for play or sports which can lead to childhood overweight or obesity
  • Chronic conditions such as asthma, anemia and pneumonia
  • Risky behaviors such as smoking or engaging in early sexual activity
  • Exposure to environmental contaminants, e.g., lead paint and toxic waste dumps
  • Exposure to violence in their communities which can lead to trauma, injury, disability and mortality



    As I was leaving a wake this morning for a teen I knew who was killed while at a playground in Cleveland, the price that my students pay because of poverty weighs heavily on me. There are no free lunches. My kids might get some free food at the schools they attend, but no one can tell me that they aren’t paying.

Without Progressive Opposition, Trump Will Win in 2020 and Beyond by Steven Singer

“You maniacs! You Finally did it! Oh damn you all to Hell!”
This was Charlton Heston at the end of “Planet of the Apes.”
But it could just as easily have been progressives everywhere after the Democratic National Committee voted for corporate shill Tom Perez to lead the party over bonafide change agent Keith Ellison.
What the Hell is wrong with you, DNC?
Don’t you get it? We lost against a reality show TV clown, Donald Trump, and you’re just repeating the same mistakes!?
And don’t give me this Russia hacking crap. Yes, they probably helped Trump win by exposing DNC emails. But they were real DNC emails. Democratic operatives actually wrote that stuff.
You will never convince me that it was enough to turn the election. If we had had an actual progressive running (Cough! Cough! Bernie Sanders!) it wouldn’t have mattered.
This was a choice between a corporate candidate and Donald Trump and people chose Donald. F’ing. Trump!
That’s on you.
And what is the first thing you do to fight back? You vote for another corporate Democrat to lead the party to oppose him!?
You maniacs! You Finally did it! Oh damn you all to Hell!
The Democratic Party is all but dead now.
Trump will walk into a second term in 2020 – no matter how terrible he continues to be between now and then.
He could take a dump on his desk in the oval office on live TV and there is probably NOTHING. We. Can. DO!
There is no opposition party.
This is not an opinion. It is a demonstrable fact. Just look back at freakin’ November!
Almost a million people signed a petition for Ellison. He won the backing of key unions – including the Teamsters, steelworkers, Communications Workers of America, and UNITE HERE. He won the backing of key activist groups including Democracy for America, 350.Org, the Center for Popular Democracy, MoveOn.Org, the Working Families Party, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and others. He was supported by notable progressives like Senator Elizabeth Warren, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Zephyr Teachout, Gloria Steinem, Walter Mondale, and Dolores Huerta ( co-founder of the United Farm Workers). He won over left-leaning publications like The Nation, whose editorial board wrote, “It is Ellison who combines the ideals, skills, and movement connections that will revitalize the party.”
When it came down to the 447 party insiders actually eligible to vote, Perez won by 235 to 200 (not counting abstentions).
If the DNC were a child, I would praise them for making progress. But it’s not a child. It’s supposed to be a national political party that can put up a robust challenge to the neo-facist in the White House!
This is completely unacceptable. And party leaders know it.
That’s why Perez immediately made Ellison his co-chair.
Good try, but too little, too late.
Perez, not Ellison, will be in charge of key decisions about the future of the party. As party chairman, he holds the balance on the makeup of the DNC Unity Reform Commission.
Were you one of millions of Americans who thought the party’s use of superdelegates during the primary was undemocratic? Well this is the commission that can eliminate them.
Sanders and Clinton delegates at the DNC convention in Philadelphia this summer clashed over these issues until Clinton agreed to let the matter be decided later by creating this group. It was a way to avoid a floor debate at that time and unify the party.
Clinton’s team gets to name nine members of the commission, and Sanders’ team gets seven. Now, Perez, as DNC chair, will control three additional votes. For those of you counting at home, that’s a 12-7 majority on the commission for the corporate Democrats. So superdelegates won’t be going anywhere. So if you want a Democratic party that is more democratic and more responsive to rank-and-file Democrats, well you can just stuff it.
Of course, all that’s in the future. How can we know now that Perez and other Democratic leaders won’t commit themselves to reform anyway?
Because of how else they voted at yesterday’s convention in Atlanta.
Before voting for Perez, they actually decided to vote down a resolution that would have reinstated former President Barack Obama’s ban on corporate political action committee donations to the party.
Resolution 33 also would have forbidden “registered, federal corporate lobbyists” from serving as “DNC chair-appointed, at-large members.”
And the DNC said, “Nah. We want that corporate money.”
Just what we need. More corporate donors, more support from big business and the rich – less impact from the working class people the Democrats actually need to vote for them to take back the country!
The Democrats need new blood. The party needs a top-to-bottom reorganization. It needs young people, working class people and minorities. It needs to rebuild county organizations and follow Sander’s $27 average donations.
Consolidating power among corporate donors and refusing to make any real structural reforms is not going to accomplish any of it.
Why did Ellison lose? Short answer: Israel.
Ellison is an African American Muslim who has been a vocal critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and continued expansion into disputed territories. His position is well within the party mainstream – even for many Jewish members. More than 60 percent of Democrats agree Israel should stop expanding in the West Bank or else face sanctions. Sanders – a Jew, himself – holds similar views.
However, prominent Clinton supporters spearheaded a smear campaign to deflate Ellison’s candidacy. His most vocal critics were the Anti-Defamation League, mega-donor Haim Saban, and lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
So instead the DNC has picked Perez, Obama’s former Labor Secretary who did next to nothing to help labor.
He famously sent an email to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta published by Wikileaks suggesting Clinton paint her rival as an angry white male candidate with little minority support.
He wrote:
“Emmy and the team have a good plan to attract all minority voters. When we do well there [Nevada], then the narrative changes from Bernie kicks ass among young voters to Bernie does well only among young white liberals—that is a different story and a perfect lead in to South Carolina, where once again, we can work to attract young voters of color. So I think Nevada is a real opportunity, and I would strongly urge HRC to get out there within a couple days of [New Hampshire].”
Like others Clinton staffers, he described Nevada as her “firewall” and was unconcerned about how minorities would feel if they were described in such exploitative terms.
The Nevada caucus was the only decisive victory for Clinton with African Americans, according to entrance polls. However, more Latinos voted for Sanders so the state did not make it abundantly clear that Sanders was incapable of attracting support from people of color.
Despite smears by the Clinton campaign, there was never evidence Sanders supporters were motivated by white male angst. In fact, American National Elections Studies found white identity was more important to Clinton supporters than Sanders supporters.
But Perez’s loyalty to Clinton and other corporate Democrats has paid off.
Trump immediately responded with a tweet literally thanking the Democrats for choosing Perez and increasing his own chances of re-election.
Repeating the same failing strategy over-and-over is not the definition of political success. It is the definition of insanity.
Perhaps one day the Democrats will realize that and run actual progressives for leadership roles and higher office. But by then, it will be far too late.
Every day Trump further erodes our freedoms and social services. Every day he endangers our lives with his incompetence and undiplomatic relations with foreign governments. Every day he breaks our laws, spouts blatant lies and fosters hate and discord.
We simply don’t have the time for the Democrats to get their act together.
It is becoming even more clear that we need a completely new political party organized from the grassroots up and dedicated to progressivism. Whether this can be accomplished in the two years we have before the midterm elections seems doubtful. Whether it can be done in time to stop Trump’s re-election is unknown.
But waiting for the Democrats to get their collective heads out of their asses is an exercise in futility.
The cavalry is not coming. We must all learn to ride.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Bought With Love, Care, and Concern
Marla Kilfoyle, Executive Director The Badass Teachers Association


When Betsy DeVos became the U.S. Secretary of Education, her first social media interaction was to joke that she could not find the pencils.




Had DeVos ever visited a public school and spoken to public school teachers she would have understood that many teachers purchase items for their classrooms, including pencils.  I will invite you to tweet what you have purchased for your classroom to DeVos @BetsyDevosED #Pencils4Betsy or email her your list.

I have done blog entries highlighting how teachers go above and beyond before but it seems that not only do some folks need a refresher of what teachers spend on their children and classroom,  but Ms. DeVos needs to read this ENTIRE list.  She needs to understand that children, and teachers, deprived of materials, is NOT a joke.  She needs to know what teachers spend out of their pocket to make sure that children have their basic needs met so that they can learn and function.

What is most disheartening is that I have seen on various social media sites people posting that teachers need to “stop whining” about what they are purchasing for children.  Teachers need to  “stop bragging” about what they are purchasing for children.  Teachers need to “stop trying to come off as a hero” for what they are purchasing for children.    We are not whining, we are not bragging, and we don’t need to be heroes.  What we need people to understand is that the children in this country are suffering and starving.

Teachers are the first responders to this suffering and starving – we are NOT going to be quiet about that!

The following list was created from feedback on the Facebook page (the responses have not been edited) – The Badass Teachers Association.  To join the group you can go here https://www.facebook.com/groups/BadAssTeachers/

I buy binders, composition books, books, around $100

About $250.00 for basic start up supplies-weekly I can't even imagine. My grocery list looks like 20 people live in my house-crackers, cereal, fruit, anything on sale!

I buy shoes and coats as well as school supplies.

I haven't added my receipts from last year, but I've purchased: boxes of tissue, bottles of hand sanitizer, markers, pencils, pens, notebooks, lots of bags of chocolate, tuna salad snack packs (that come with crackers), microwavable mac n cheese boxes, coffee (I teach at an alternative h.s.), cookies, sweet bread, tortilla chips, orange juice, milk, napkins, forks, paper plates, and in the past, have paid for hair cuts, bus fare, a pair of pants and a pair of gym shoes...well over $100 per year. Imagine a politician having to pay for his/her own microphone!

This year I bought 90 spiral notebooks, 90 folders, treats for holiday parties, decorations for my room, hand sanitizer, tissues, not to mention buying activities from sites like teacher pay teacher to enhance instruction (we do not have a textbook). Total (this year) about $500...oh and the years only half over...

$100 pair of glasses for a boy whose mother couldn't afford them.

$10+ a week for food to supplement free/reduced meals--pretzels, peanut butter crackers, cereal, cheese sticks, yogurts,etc.,-- holiday craft items so they can make presents for family members-

-$200, school supplies--$200+ (folders, notebooks, paper, crayons, colored pencils, etc.), scholarships for field trips $200 per year, $500 for classroom incentives--prizes, games, stickers, reward certificates, etc. Alternative curricula items --interactive notebooks, activities, etc. $500 .

Besides many regular classroom supplies, I've replaced shoes that were worn completely through the soles, I've made sure that no child missed the end-of-year field trip due to cost, and I've replaced worn out binders and backpacks when needed.

Composition books, science project display materials, pens, pencils, paper and books. It has cost me between $1,000 and $2,000 per year.

A dress, strapless bra, jewelry, cardigan, and shoes for a student for our 8th grade luncheon. And, most of the normal stuff already stated. File folder boxes x 6, hanging folders, colored file folders, page protectors, name tags for drama assignment....

Oh yes, lunch for students during field trips, at least 2-3 kids per trip if we'd eat out. My total? Probably $500. My husband is a teacher too, his probably $500 as well.

Kid clothes, books, backpacks, lunch bags, composition notebooks, pencils, expo pens, sharpies, art supplies, staplers, and entrance to field trips.

$200 for socks, underwear, pants and shirts because the student had been absent because she didn't have clothes to wear because the mom threw the kids out and they were living with their dad in a friend's basement. $10 for toothbrush and toothpaste for a student who didn't have one.
Hats, mittens, snowpants in northern NY, $100+.

Tissues, highlighters, post-it notes, notebook paper, peppermints, pens = about $200

On top of everything else, I've bought $20 shoes for a student before, adding to my total of about $500/year.

I teach theatre so I spend money on productions because there is always more needed than the budget allows. That amounts to about $500 a year. I send care packages to former students at college and in the service. About $300 a year. Then probably $300 on other things from food to teaching materials. Total about $1200 a year.

5-subject notebooks @$7.00 each (usually 7/8 each year), scissors, glue sticks, tissues every 2 weeks, colored pencil, ink pens, more than $250.00 a year.

gift cards to Target, Value Village, etc. to help choir/band kids buy the necessary black pants and white shirts for concerts. And I don't teach band/choir - I'm their Teacher Librarian. Books - oh so many books - for my library because a budget of $4.25/student doesn't go very far. I keep a drawer full of granola bars/cup a noodles/soup/snacks to feed kids who need it (I have 950 students and a Free/Reduced lunch rate of about 81% so do the math). The usual pens/pencils/notepaper/spiral notebooks/3 ring binders for kids who need (I keep a shelf of stuff like this).

Satin waterbased varnish, 24 foam brushes, and high density foam for one advanced art project. $80. 

I usually spend about $500 a year.

Uniform clothes for middle school students, $30

In the past five years I have bought the usual... binders, composition notebooks, page protectors, sticky notes, pens, tape, paper clips, expo markers, cardstock, multiple printer cartridges, two printers... Ive probably spent over $200 in pencil sharpeners... I've paid for a child's prescriptions... 

I've also bought supplies for my kids that don't bring any, Clorox wipes, baggies for guided reading books, clothes, socks, shoes, food, backpacks, lunches, lice shampoo, coats, supplies for science projects, supplies for parent gifts at Christmas, deodorant, books, classroom furniture, at least 15 boxes of bandaids, ice packs for my freezer, snacks for random things like Dr. Seuss week, oh- a box of Valentines for a child who didn't have any to pass out... shall I go on?

I hate to think how much I have spent, but I do know it's been at least $500-$900 a year.

I have spent $10,000 over the last ten years on my classroom library.

Aside from the 100's spent on supplies for students, back packs, tooth paste and brushes, clothes, jackets, boots etc, I've paid for glasses, prescriptions, field trips. It is a never ending list, the very least of which is pencils.......

All types of supplies like pencils, spiral notebooks, crayons, glue sticks, at least 5 reams of 500 sheets of printer paper. Notebook paper, felt pens,  Plus many forgotten items like snacks etc.

I teach 1st grade and have a student who hasn't had power or much food in his house since early December. After I shared I had a student in need our faculty continues to contribute food and we work tirelessly to hook the family to resources.

We each help in our little corner of the world. over $300 and counting

1000+ pens, notebook paper, colored pencils, markers ($200), doughnuts and juice for breakfast on PSAT day about $50, lunch for my debate team $400 (4 lunch dates after competition) kleenex, hand sanitizer, lotion, soap for the faculty bathroom etc $100.

Tissues, markers, dry erase boards, post-its, computer cleaning supplies, broom and dustpan, dry erase board erasers, file folders, pencils, pens, crayons, colored pencils, masking tape, folders, copy paper, card stock, duct tape, egg timers, stress balls, fidgets, light bulbs, applesauce, granola bars, juice boxes, hand soap, books, bookmarks, legos, scissors, glue sticks, yarn, lunch bags, crepe paper, pocket charts, book repair tape, labels...

Books, books, books, books, art supplies, food, food, food, food, books, books, food, books, science materials, books, books, books, musical instruments, books, books, books

Copies of novels- 15 at about $7.00 each, too many boxes of Kleenex to mention, bookshelves for my classroom - one for $20, one for $35, paper, pencils, curriculum materials, etc.

4 journals at $1.00 each x 25 students = $100.00, pencils at $2.00 a box of 10 = $100.00, crayons, scissors, glue sticks, whiteboard markers, tissues, paper towels, copy paper $25.00 for a pack of 10. I use 4 packs minimum a month. Ink for the printer. Books for the students to take home. A minimum of ten books per student. These are books they keep. I have purchased clothing for students in need and back packs. Pencil cases, and erasers. Not to count flask cards and dominoes and dice plus borders and faceless paper and file folders and sheet protectors. Stickers and rewards plus certificates, name taps, desk top rulers. Plus so much more. Last year l had approximately $2,500 in school supplies that l spent so my students can be successful. Plus books, books, and more books for my classroom library that must be worth $10,000. Plus supplies for the classroom such a scotchtape, wide tape, staplers, staples, office supplies, index cards, construction paper, etc, k cannot walk out of a Dollar Tree under $50 in school supplies. Last year l even purchased a turkey for a family in need at the holidays. I had not realized how expensive turkeys were since l get mine with reward points. The turkey was over $40.

A Non-Bat middle school teacher friend of mine bought a homeless student $100.00 worth of clothes and shoes so the student would have more than 2 outfits to wear.

20 new Texas Instruments calculators $210.00; items for classroom store (PBS) wonder if she knows that one! @$400; science supplies which are not part of my ESE curriculum but has to be taught @$500. That's just this year! Plus your typical supplies-@$1,000 copy paper, pencils...
Pencils, science supplies, stickers, food...$200.

Paper, crayons, markers, color pencils, scissors, printer cartridges, sticky notes, index cards, staples, white boards, ear phones, multiple, expo markers, shoes, mittens, gloves, coats, pants, shirts, underwear. Snacks for daily snacks. Glue, glue sticks, laminate and laminator. Desk labels, posters, books. Printer paper. I am sure a spend over $500.00 a year. I am sure this is on the low side.

Pencil sharpeners, staplers, staples, glue sticks, tape, folders, printer paper, printer ink, construction paper, pencils, stickers, markers, crayons, pens, notebooks, binders. Potting soil, paper cups and seeds so they could grow plants and write about them during plant unit. Bulletin board paper and border for bulletin boards, posters. Plastic organizers for school supplies. Index cards, post-it notes. Snacks and drinks for holiday parties. Books for the classroom library. Dry erase markers, and individual whiteboards. Tissues, hand sanitizer, hand lotion, wipes for cleaning the desktops. At least $400/year.
Granola bars, fruit, money for gas, books for reading assignments, tissues, post-it notes, field trip $, lunch money...@$300/year.

I used to buy socks

Glue, markers, underwear, Kleenex, snacks, pencils, folders, laminate and laminator, potty seat, fidgets, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, glue sticks, hot glue gun, play dough, books, apps, construction paper, card stock, stickers, posters, puppets, games, manipulatives, crayons...
Books books books art supplies & resources tissues hand wipes soap lotion ( their skin gets dry from clay!) coats hats shoes gift certificates snacks and love (which is free & unconditional).
Tissues, hand sanitizer, hearing aid batteries (I work with students with hearing loss), stickers, markers, crayons, dry erase boards, index cards to create flash cards...at least $500/year
For my high school math class: the usual - Pencils, pens, colored pencils, graph paper, loose leaf, binders, paper for the printer, books to supplement the curriculum, dice, Barbie dolls (for bungee jumping), playing cards, rubber bands, rulers, sharpies, granola bars, kleenex, sweatshirts, clothes, and college tution to be able to take my college class in high school: lowball price: $3000. Reward - priceless

meals, co-signed for a car loan, down payment for an attorney so she could fight to keep her kid, scholarship $ monthly, $ to start a non-profit, diapers, books, Xmas gifts for their kids, driving lessons... What's a salary for?

I buy clothes, coats, daily snacks (Morning and afternoon,) paper, pencils, markers, crayons, and a ton of stuff from teachers’ pay teachers.... because I have no curriculum.

Though I am retired, at the beginning of the school year, from purchased made over the summer vacation, bought pencil cases, sharpeners, erasers, pencils, pens, comp notebooks and a doodle pad Cost: ~$100+ and it was my pleasure to do this 🙂

Cleaning supplies, such as clorox wipes and 409. Nobody but me cleans computer headsets that are used every hour. My teaching materials are old and out of date. I have purchased magazines and new reading materials out of my own pocket. I also pay for pencils, paper, binders, band aids...

Paper, notebooks, binders, markers, crayons, pencils, pens, curriculum materials, library books, computer programs, speakers, toner, fabric, craft supplies, glue, paint, snacks, lunches, and that's what I can come up with at this time of nite..... cost (more than I will admit to my husband!) ..... at least $500.....

School supplies - pencils, crayons, paper, folders, etc. Food. Underwear. Socks. Books. Backpacks. 

Hats. Scarves. Coats. Toothbrushes. Science equipment and supplies. My teaching partner of 15 years used to deliver donated turkeys to families at their homes. When they need it, we get it for them.
Even in higher ed---many of us keep snacks and supplies on hand for our college students who need help getting through to payday or just a hard time.

Cereal and granola bars, shirts, sweatshirts, PE clothes, field trip expenses, folders, binders, notebooks, pens, pencils, calculators, art supplies, feminine hygiene products, snacks and incentives, dance admission, science lab supplies, apps for the iPads, computer software and subscriptions, lunches, cleaning supplies, printer ink and toner, laminating pockets, novels, headphones, USB chargers, index cards, hair bands, bobby pins, safety pins, Band-aids, sharpener, photocopies, flash drives, games, sports equipment, CD player. I probably spend $1500-$2000 each year.

n books, pencils, dry erase markers, notebook paper, printer paper, markers, highlighters, ear buds, erasers, snacks, computer apps/software, pencil sharpeners, pencil lead, classroom incentive items, movies, craft supplies, bike helmets, shoelaces, clothes, books.

For art class, pencils, plaster, ceramic glazes, brush holders, brushes, sculpture materials, tape, computer printer and ink cartridges, snacks, breakfast foods, colored pencils

Specialized paper, pencils, different types of adaptive scissors, specialized feeding dishes and utensils, sensory toys, fine motor and visual perceptual practice books and games, clothing. I probably spend $250-$300 per year (I'm an OT in special education).

My husband is a HS science teacher. He buys pens, pencils, colored pencils, lab materials, paper, paper clips, staplers and staples, scissors, glue sticks, and various other office supplies, also totaling about $250-$300.

There's no way I could keep up with everything I've bought- especially over the years.

The biggest purchase was probably a desk for my classroom, though. And I also built shelves for my books and supplies, and largest cubbies to go into my closets. 

Mostly art supplies and expo markers. Usually I spend about 300 each year

Antibacterial wipes, dry erase markers, small individual whiteboards and erasers, all the typical office supplies, healthy snacks in case someone didn't get breakfast or needed to take meds with something to eat, bookcases, paper shredder-I was a sped teacher and shredded paper a lot, a mold test kit one year, posters, bandaids, safety pins, needles and thread, screwdriver for eyeglasses, some playground equipment, special paper, adaptive scissors, binders, teachers' guides in some cases so I could help with homework for the classes I didn't coteach, Kleenex, extra hats, gloves, mittens, hoodies, novels for classroom library, and yes, pencils. I know there's more.

Tissue, folders, notebooks, markers, crayons, glue, colored pencils, paper, headphones, bulletin board supplies, pens, pencils, birthday stickers & book coupons, post-its, treats for celebrations, games, laminating film, books, white board markers & erasers, colored printer ink, labels, student store stuff (shopkins, Pokémon, journals, bracelets, monster feet, etc.), manipulatives, fabric for my crate seats, pizza lunches, and more I'm sure! At least $600 easy!!!

I teach PreK students with hearing loss. Over the years I have purchased: a TTY to communicate with deaf parents (back in the day!), winter coats, snowpants, boots, mittens, gloves, hats, gym shoes, spare clothes, underwear, socks, bathing suits, swim diapers, toothbrushes/toothpaste, denture floss to clean hearing aid earmolds, batteries, healthy snacks for students, juice, notebooks, cardstock, pens, big pencils for the kids, post-its, tape dispensers, staplers, three hole punch, copy paper, ink for printer, pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, glue, diapers/pull-ups, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, lotion, fleece pullovers to wear when it is too cold in the room, fleece blankets for naptime, numerous DVDs for indoor recess, toys, doll house, furniture for doll house, dolls for doll house, play food for kitchen area, community helper costumes, costumes for Nursery Rhyme music program, playdoh, wooden puzzles, floor puzzles, train set with tracks, an LA traffic jam of cars, trucks and other vehicles, supplementary reference materials and hands-on manipulatives for thematic units, food for cooking experiences in the classroom, treats for classroom parties, food to support lessons, storage containers, BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS!

This is not a complete list. My best guess, low-end rough estimate, over the past 25 years: $30K+
Every penny spent with love and the goal of helping students.

Tissue, tissue, tissue. Also curricular materials, pencil sharpeners, bandaids, whiteboards, markers, and erasers, snacks, classroom rewards, birthday cards, writers' workshop materials, and my own space heater. Volunteers whom I recruited on my own, gave notebooks, folders, paper, binders, markers, pencils, erasers, pens, lead, crayons, jump drives, staples, tape, Post Its, glue, tacks, paper clips, binder clips, and even my office chair.

When orchestra kids go to contest, everybody in black socks are a thing and points are deducted. It is silly, but it is a thing, so I have bought black socks in bulk so my students' hard work is rewarded and not hindered by his socks.

Classroom materials, supplemental materials, tissues, folders notebooks, markers, pencils, pens, paper, rewards/ treats, granola bars, Lunch once a month of pizza or dollar menu items for the tables that succeed, fastfood giftcards on occasion, Christmas gifts, books, thrift store uniform clothing, coats, gloves, hats and back packs. Poster/trifold boards, classroom subscriptions to different magazines and apps. that is a good start but that is only part of it I'm sure if I had more time to think about it.

Pencils, erasers, folders, notebooks, cards, rewards, crackers, graham crackers, jelly, PB, tissues, paper, stickers, stuffed animals for writers' workshop, books, more books, hats and mittens, . all adds up to about $1000 a year.

Over the years:. Backpacks, clothes, coats, sneakers, food, batteries for calculators and hearing aids, baby clothes (teen mom), soap, detergent, and deodorant, cab fare for emergencies , care package for a hospitalized student, pens, paperclips, staples, printer cartridges, sharpies, dictionaries, binders, index cards, glue sticks, fidgets, hand sanitizer, tissues, dry erase markers, paper, thesauruses, other books, pencils, sharpeners, lesson plans, etc. This year, at least $500. And the year is only half over.
Our school's art and literary magazine had been reduced to a black and white photocopied hand out. A group of students wanted to revive it to be like other magazines of more affluent schools. They asked me to sponsor, and for three years we produced a 32 page full color Art and Literary Magazine that received Excellent and Superior ratings at the state level. One year we expanded to include an original music cd of student music in the back of the book. I donated my full teacher stipend each year to supplement our fundraising for the book production.

art supplies including materials for the room that would allow kids to have water containers, paper towels, and all the cleaning supplies for the desks. Books for curriculum development.
books, books, books! scissors, markers, tape, folders, paper, subscription to Tumbleweed, various curriculum enhancers (such as for HG series), food, chapstick, PENCILS!, bookmarks and posters from ALA, decorative stuff for walls.... at least 1000.00 bucks a year..... (remember that heart- wrenching commercial where the husband is mad at the wife for buying stuff for her classroom, then she looks over and he is in another line buying supplies for her?) ....sigh.....

My colleagues and I have paid for things ranging from lunches to field trips. In a couple of cases these field trips included a 4 day trip to Washington, DC.

snacks, notebooks, folders, markers, crayons, paper plates, art supplies (since Kindergarten doesn't get art class), books and CDs for my listening center....a couple hundred dollars

Books, notebooks, books, pens, books, paper, books, snacks, books, suckers, poster board, markers, , other school supplies, and books. About $1000-$1200 a year.

Today, a power strip to charge their iPads in Pre-k, $15.

I spent an average of $1200 per year on folders, pencils, sharpeners, office supplies, BOOKS, posters, subscriptions to sites with materials to use in my curriculum, fans (no ac), hats, scarves, etc. Food!
$10 per week on cereal and snacks

Back to school supplies $200. Clothing for students who need clothes and coats $200. Gifts for their families from the holiday shop $100. Donation to Santa fund for needy kids $100. Kleenex paper towel Purell cleaning products for the year $100. Yearbooks books from book fair etc $100+. Trips /field trips. $$$. Shall I keep going? The money we earn is a God given gift and we in turn help others less fortunate.

Notebooks so far this year, and food

In my kindergarten world - school lunches $2.45 each time, several times a week, backpacks - $15 - 25, fines for lost library books, field trip money, buy our class t-shirt, extra clothing to keep on hand when needed, coats, shoes, curriculum to differentiate

Notebooks, folders, pencils, pencil pouches, paperback books, colored pencils, crayons, snacks. $500 

Flowers, worms, lobsters, mussels, clams, fish and fish foods and equipment for the fish tank, mice and the stuff they need to stay alive, mushrooms, seeds, potting soil, peat, pizza, chocolate, marshmallows, Graham crackers, borax, Elmers Glue, lichens, elodea... That's just some of the lab supplies each year!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I’m a Public School Teacher. Hands Off My Trans Students! by Steven SInger

I’m a public school teacher.
I have a lot of different girls and boys in my classes.
In fact, some of them are neither girls nor boys.
Does that mean they should be discriminated against? Does it mean we should judge them, tell them they’re somehow less valuable than the other kids? Tell them who they are by telling them where to pee?
Heck, No!
Some kids don’t feel comfortable with a traditional gender identity. And it’s more common than you’d think.
It’s certainly more widespread than I ever would have thought until a little girl taught me a lesson… well, not a little girl, really.
A few months ago, I would have said she’s the cutest little girl in the lunch line.
Bright, vivacious, always a friendly smile and a kind word.
But she’s not a little girl.
And I didn’t know until she told me.
As a teacher given the unenviable role of line monitor, I have to find the bright spots where I can.
Letting only two hungry 5th graders in to get their lunch at a time and making the rest wait does not make you popular.
“Aaaargh! Why you always stopping me!?” They often say.
“Because you were third,” I reply.
“But why?” They often insist.
“It’s not personal. It’s numerical.”
And I let them through to continue the game tomorrow.
It goes on like that for about a half hour with little variation – until she gets to the front of the line.
“Hey, Mr. Singer!” Big smile and a wave.
And we’d be off on a conversation. She’d ask me how my day was, what I was teaching my students, how my daughter was. I’d ask how her day was so far, about pets, homework.
She’s actually not in my class. I only see her at lunch, but she always brightens my day.
For months, it went like clockwork. Until a few weeks ago when she appeared at the front of the line with her long hair chopped off into a bob.
“Nice haircut,” I said encouragingly.
“Thanks,” she replied. “You want to know why I got it?”
“Sure. Why?”
“I’m agender.”
“Oh,” I responded cluelessly. “What’s that?”
And she proceeded to explain that she didn’t feel comfortable identifying as male or female.
I nodded and then it was time to let her get her lunch.
I’ll admit it was unsettling. Here was this cute little thing and I didn’t even know what to call her now.
But the next day things progressed as usual. Ze came through the line with the same big smile. We had the same innocuous conversation and ze went to eat.
It made me think.
I’ve been teaching for more than a decade. Ze was probably not the first transgender student I’ve met. And when I thought back to all the children who’ve come through my classes over the years, faces started to pop up and hit me.
Gender is not black and white. (Come to think of it, neither is race.) No one is 100% male or female. I mean, sure people have a fixed range of sexual parts, but gender identity is more than that.
We each feel comfortable acting and identifying certain ways, and if you think about it, some of those ways don’t always line up with our cultural gender designation.
For instance, I cry my eyes out at certain movies. My daughter – who’s 8 – heard the song “Boys Don’t Cry,” the other day and said, “Well that isn’t true. Daddy cries all the time.”
Moreover, my wife loves football, basketball and hockey. Me? I could take them or leave them. If she wants me to watch the game with her, she’s got to beg or promise or put out the right snacks.
Wouldn’t it just make sense that some people are much further to one side or other of the gender spectrum than others? Wouldn’t it just make sense that sometimes your identity and your physical parts don’t match? Or maybe you’re so in the middle that it makes no sense to take a side?
I say again, I teach in a public school. We don’t push any kids away. We take everyone. And that means taking those kids who aren’t so easy to label.
I teach middle school. Transgenderism doesn’t come up too often.
Last year when bathroom bills were all the rage, some of my 8th graders brought it up during our Socratic Seminar discussion groups. And I let them talk about it.
We talked about why some people might think this is a good idea, why some might oppose it, etc. There were some boys who were hysterically against trans students using the bathroom with them, but most of my kids had zero problem with it. In fact, they knew that it had already happened.
Trans students are everywhere. You just rarely hear about them.
I don’t know which bathroom my lunchline buddy uses. I wouldn’t presume to ask. But it hurts me that there are people out there who want to limit hir.
These children have rights. They are little sweethearts. They’re full of life and joy. We should respect their humanity.
And to those who say letting them use a bathroom that corresponds with their identity will lead to kids being molested, let me ask – has that ever really happened?
The way I see it, the problem is people – any people – molesting others, no matter what room they do it in, no matter if they’re transgender or not.
Frankly, it doesn’t happen a lot at school, nor is it more pronounced with trans kids.
This has nothing to do with children. It has to do with old men and women who refuse to broaden their views about the world. It’s about the ancient making the young do as they say regardless of how doing so may trample on their right to be themselves.
Well, I won’t be a part of it.
You want to attack my trans students? You’ll have to do it through me.
I’m a guardian of kid’s rights. I’m a defender of children from whoever wants to do them harm.
I’m a public school teacher. That’s just what we do.