Simplicity Concerning Supplies is Short in Demand

September 3, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

back-to-school-854848-mWhile today is the first day of a new school year for my daughters, my wife and I are still reeling from the back-to-school shopping and preparation. Just when we finished purchasing everything on the first school shopping list, we were given a second list of items to buy. We could almost take out a second mortgage just to buy all these supplies.

When I was in school, oh those many years ago, there were basically only three supplies you needed — something to write on (paper), something to write with (a pencil or pen) and some way to keep it together (a notebook). As I got older, we had other odds and ends to get — ruler, protractor, compass, calculator — but it was all very simple. Today we parents are given a lengthy list before school starts, which includes paper, multiple composition notebooks, multiple spiral-bound notebooks, several packages of glue sticks, multiple erasers, packs of pens and pencils, etc. Getting my older daughter ready this year was even more arduous, as we were required to buy a blue, 4-inch binder and a white 4-inch binder, each filled with its own paper, spiral-bound notebooks, tab dividers and pouch filled with pencils, pens, erasers, etc.. She will alternate days as to which binder to bring. Unbelievable!

When I was coming along, we didn’t have to be so specific. Some of us carried a clipboard with paper and a few folders. Others favored corralling all their stuff together in a Trapper Keeper (remember those?). We pretty much had our choice, but it was simple. Yesterday, we literally had our floor covered with school supplies to separate them out and get them in order for our kids.

Again, when I was in school, we only brought our own personal supplies. Now, they are required to buy multiple supplies to bring in to the teacher to divvy out to all the students. Now, I understand that this is to help out the poorer kids in the school who can’t afford to buy school supplies. This is a noble plan, but it makes it extremely hard on the parents. My wife even said she’d gladly write a check out to the school so it could get the supplies it needs and do all the back-to-school shopping for us.

This got me to thinking. I know that schools face many other pressing needs, but wouldn’t it be nice if the federal government were to create a grant program to provide states with funding to pass down to local districts for simple school supplies? Asking parents to fight over the same supplies at Walmart, Target and Staples year after year is maddening. There’s got to be an easier way. If we can have a national school lunch grant program and a school breakfast grant program, surely there can be a way to launch a school supply grant program. After what we just went through over the last week or so, our family would be all for it.

Is this a useless idea or is there merit to it? Let us know.



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