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Should teachers be asking for brand name school supplies?
September 5, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Here's a question for you during back to school season: Should schools really be specifying a particular brand of crayon or glue or moist wipe to be used in the classroom?
This is going on in school districts all over the country, based on online chatter. I suspect a lot of teachers request the brand names because they pool all of the supplies that kids bring in and use them for the entire class. It may be easier if there is just one brand of crayon or box of tissues in the communal pile. Schools probably can't actually require that parents buy a particular brand, but there's definitely heavy pressure brought to bear on those school supply lists that are handed out by schools, posted on the web site and posted in local department stores.
I don't think it's a good policy. On these school supply lists, teachers often claim that a particular brand is better or worth the extra pennies, but they aren't the ones paying the difference between the generic brand and the more expensive brand of crayons. The number of homeless families in this state is on the rise. For many of those families living paycheck to paycheck, that extra $1 or $5 paid for brand name crayons could instead pay for a meal for their child or some other necessity.
You don't realize the value of a dollar until pay day is days away, your bank account is in single digits and you have had to dig through the sofa cushions in search of a few quarters so you can buy a can of soup for that night's dinner. I can only guess how many families are in that sort of predicament right now in the state, but there are probably quite a few families who are couch surfing or living in campers or four-wheelers. I know that there are a lot of organizations that help out needy families by providing school supplies this time of year, but those organizations can stretch those donated dollars a lot farther by buying the cheaper products for kids and for teachers' classrooms.
My mother, who was annoyed by the brand name requirement when she bought some of the school supplies for my second-grade nephew this fall, made a good point. She said it also seemed like some of these schools are advertising to the children and their families by preferring a specific brand. Advertising doesn't belong in schools, especially at the elementary level.
What do you think of teachers requesting specific brand names for back to school supplies?
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