Back to School & Budget Cuts

In the coming months, school will be back in session for everyone from kindergarten to college. For students, this means stopping the summer fun and heading back into the classroom. For teachers, this involves a lot more work. 

Over the last decade, many public schools across the United States have experienced critical cuts in their budget. State funds account for approximately 47 percent of K-12 national spending. It is because of this large percentage that cuts at the state level forces school districts within that state to scale back. School districts are forced to lower the budget on education and raise more money locally in hopes of covering the gap.  

These budget cuts have led classrooms to have shortage in simple, yet essential, supplies such as paper and pencils. It also inhibits teachers from being able to fix tables, desks and chairs that were broken the school year before. Teachers are now being forced to use their own money to provide their classrooms with the tools their students need to succeed.

These budget cuts have led to a lack of teacher retention throughout the United States. There are currently 1,700 teacher vacancies. Of these vacancies, many of them are in science, technology, engineering and math subjects. A STEM teacher requires proper materials and curricula in order to properly teach their students- which they are not being supplied with.

In Arizona alone, only one in four classrooms will have a permanent teacher. This leaves classrooms with no consistency and teachers never take the time it requires to gain experience in their profession. Most of the issues and constant shifts can be accredited to the lack of resources educators are receiving.  
Guest columnist and educator Nik Mar said, “Too many first-year teachers are struggling to navigate barriers that range from low pay and a lack of materials to limited professional development — all with little to no support.

According to a survey released by the Department of Education, in the 2014-15 school year 94 percent of public school teachers reported paying for their own classroom supplies without ever being reimbursed. Some teachers even had to go as far as paying for their students food. These large expenses have led GoFundMe pages to be made by these teachers to try to lessen their gap in spending.

Insider published an article about these budget cuts and their effect on teachers in different states throughout the U.S. In this, the author lists the top 20 states where teachers were spending most of their money on in-classroom supplies. They rank as the following: 

1. Rhode Island

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 102 percent (over 100 percent because of counselors and principals)

Average public school teachers salary: $66,477

2. Michigan

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 93 percent

Average public school teachers salary:  $62,200

3. Louisiana

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 88 percent 

Average public school teachers salary:  $50,000

4. Connecticut

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 86 percent 

Average public school teachers salary: $72,561

5. Delaware

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 85 percent 

Average public school teachers salary: $60,214

6. New Hampshire

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 85 percent

Average public school teachers salary: $57,253 

7. Florida

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 84 percent

Average public school teachers salary: $49,407 

8. Arizona

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 84 percent

Average public school teachers salary: $47,403  

9. New Jersey

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 82 percent

Average public school teachers salary:  $69,623  

10. Georgia

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 80 percent 

Average public school teachers salary: $54,602

11. Pennsylvania

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 79 percent

Average public school teachers salary: $65,863

12. New Mexico

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 78 percent

Average public school teachers salary: $47,500

13. Kentucky

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 77 percent

Average public school teachers salary: $52,339

14. New York

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 76 percent

Average public school teachers salary: $79,637

15. Mississippi

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 75 percent

Average public school teachers salary: $42,925

16. Maryland

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 74 percent

Average public school teachers salary: $66,961

17. Alabama

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 74 percent

Average public school teachers salary: $48,868

18. Nevada

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 74 percent

Average public school teachers salary: $57,376

19. Massachusetts

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 74 percent

Average public school teachers salary: $77,804

20. Maine

Percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction in 2016: 74 percent 

Average public school teachers salary:  $51,077

These out-of-pocket expenses for educators across the United States has led them to have to shop for their classrooms in savvier ways. At STEM Sports®, we see the battle that teachers are fighting and do our best to combat this issue with all of our kits. Each STEM curriculum kit provides educators with a teachers manual and all of the necessary reusable materials for the students to complete the modules. 

STEM Sports® turnkey curriculum offer K-8 teachers with the opportunity to give their students quality science, technology, engineering and math lessons in a cost effective manner. Since all of the materials in the kits are reusable, educators can continue to use their STEM curriculum kit with future classes. 

The longevity of each STEM Sports® kit is focused on both teachers and their students. As part of the STEM initiative, we at STEM Sports® believes that every student deserves the opportunity to improve their STEM literacy. Because of that, we want to give every educator who purchases one of our kits everything they need in order to enhance their students learning experience. 

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