We all know that teachers do all they can to help their students. As such, it came as no surprise to learn that countless UK teachers are spending money from their own pocket to provide their students with the basic necessities.
According to a recent survey published by the Independent, almost half of grade school educators claim to buy their students basic goods from their own coin purse. Approximately 45% of teachers have bought their kids toiletries, clothing, and more within the last year alone. These costs are on top of the classroom resources they already have to pay for out of pocket.
Broken down further, Yahoo Finance notes that 75% of those who bought their students these necessities bought them food, 29% bought them toiletries, while 23% bought their students clothing and shoes.
The survey consisted of more than 4,300 participants from across the UK. One teacher claimed to have spent over £5,000 in the span of a few years on classroom supplies and resources alone. It’s becoming increasingly common for teachers to go into debt over these necessary purchases.
“Evidence shows that many teachers are facing financial hardship themselves as a result of year on year pay cuts, and yet faced with increasing child poverty some are shouldering further financial burdens to support their pupils,” notes the general secretary of the NASUWT, Chris Keates.
Most of those surveyed claimed these purchases were necessary because of the lack of resources provided by their schools. Instead of supplying classrooms with resources, almost 30% noted their schools would rather spend money on other things.
Many of the teachers are not reimbursed at all while only a small portion are partially reimbursed by their educational institution.
This also implies many of the other needs of children across the UK are not being met. For example, most children will receive their first set of braces between the ages of eight and 14. If the parents are unable to provide their students with the basic necessities, children are undoubtedly going without the health care that they may need.
But similar issues have long existed in the United States. In fact, the Johnson County school district in North Carolina has become one of 21 districts that will be closed on May 1 due to a protest staged by underpaid teachers and employees. The teachers are protesting for increased wages and the expansion of necessary Medicaid funding.
The median wages for the average teacher in North Carolina have only risen to $50,000 for the first time just last year. Though state lawmakers hope to raise this amount to $55,000 by 2020, this still is barely enough to live in an unfurnished apartment in the United States. The median price is around $1,500 per month, putting it out of reach for the majority of teachers who make far less than $50,000.
On top of that, it’s estimated that at least one in every five Americans has at least one cavity that is going untreated due to financial issues or other concerns. With the expansion of Medicaid and other health insurance costs, seeking regular dental and doctor appointments might not be out of reach for state educators.
Because so many North Carolina teachers and staff requested personal days off, there will not be enough staff to supervise the students in a safe manner.
With the addition of the Johnson County school district, there are approximately 720,953 students that will have the day off. This means almost half of North Carolina’s 1.5 million students will stay home and this number is only expected to increase as May 1 draws nearer.
In light of the UK teachers who are working hard to provide the necessities for their students, state lawmakers are expected to back teacher efforts in the next budget review.