How do you decide if classroom supplies are necessities or wishes?
I’m not talking about the obvious things like pencils and paper. Or even traditional art supplies like glue sticks and crayons found on many lists.
I mean do store executives visit schools to see what children are doing? What if they spent a day with students in elementary schools across the country? Would they notice that books are the number one classroom supply needed for effective literacy instruction?
If Target employees visited classrooms recently, they certainly didn’t notice. The company advertised its first ever nationwide Teacher Prep Event from July 15-21st, offering a 15% off discount on “select” classroom supplies. Target hoped that teachers would stock up on the savings. The event “helps [teachers] get the classroom supplies they need at a greater value,” boasts Mark Tritton, Target’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. “It’s a way for Target to acknowledge the role they play in going the extra mile for their students,” he adds.
The Scary Mommy website (scarymommy.com) accurately states, “When it comes to classroom supplies, teachers everywhere pull from their own pockets to ensure their students have everything they need for the school year.” Furthermore, the National Center of Education Statistics released a study earlier this year stating that 94% of teachers reported spending a considerable amount of personal funds to secure classroom supplies, often close to double the allotted tax deduction of $250.
What makes a classroom supply a necessity? Google defines necessity as “an indispensable thing.” Translated for the elementary classroom, a necessity is something that students cannot live without. One they use regularly. Hmm. How exactly was the list created? Qualifying classroom supplies include: writing supplies, notebooks, folders, and binders, arts & crafts, classroom storage and organization, disinfecting wipes, facial tissue, hand sanitizer, food storage bags and more. Unfortunately, books are NOT part of the “and more.”
Why not? It’s like learning how to drive a car without the car. The omission of books on the list of qualifying classroom necessities seems like a huge oversight. How can teachers teach reading and writing without books? They can’t. Books are classroom necessities, not simply items on a teacher’s wish list.
Target’s signage does note that the savings offer excludes trial/travel sizes and Bullseye playground items. Playground equipment is not considered “indispensable,” and therefore is not a necessity. I applaud you, Target, for recognizing that playground equipment is not a necessity, but certainly can be considered a wish by many teachers.
Effort grade: Needs improvement.
Readers, maybe it seems like I’m complaining, but let’s be real: If a necessity is an indispensable thing, then books deserve a place on the list of qualifying classroom supplies. Target executives, I urge you to visit elementary classrooms. Add the books. If we don’t stock classrooms with a wide variety of books, we run the risk of students being robbed of choice. And ultimately engagement. Do you really want that responsibility resting on your shoulders?