Credit for Kleenex

When school budgets are tight, teachers get stuck buying basic supplies out of their own pockets. In some California schools (public and private), teachers are giving extra credit to students who donate Kleenex and other supplies to their classrooms.

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  1. Somehow I knew, when I read this story this morning, that Joanne would blog it.

    I guess it’s another indice that we grossly underfund education in California. But even so, no teacher should allow the integrity of their course to be affected in this way.

    Obviously, it opens up amazing possibilities. A bottle of Sauvignon Blanc for me for just 15 points, 20 points if it’s Estate Bottled.

    What’s happened in California–and perhaps elsewhere–is the conversation no longer is about how children learn (or, in the words of our current president, “Is they learning?”), but arguments about the level of funding and the source of funding. And a huge number of Californians are still in thrall to the magic of Proposition 13, a bill of goods that has undermined the public school system and enriched the pockets of apartment and commercial property owners.

    Oh, my…

  2. Rita C. says:

    You can give extra credit without having it affect the grade that much. There’s a knack to it.

    That’s how I get my classroom supplies. Even with the extra credit, I’ve spent about $400 this year already.

  3. I’m just surprised that students who show up with Kleenex aren’t suspended for bringing medical supplies onto school property.

  4. Independent George says:

    Stores often offer a discount to teachers for purchasing supplies – it’s tax deductible for both parties. For the same reason, companies are often willing to donate excess supplies – instead of spending money on storage, they gain a tax break for the retail value of the donated supplies.

  5. Here in Kansas, bringing 4 boxes of Kleenex to school is part of the supplies list. This makes sense to me. The teachers are not expected to supply such things, and I’ve yet to hear a parent complain about providing kleenex for their kid.

  6. Donating Kleenex to schools? Oh boy. What are they teaching these kids. Liberals are out of controll

  7. Rita C. says:

    Chains like OfficeMax, etc., offer discounts occasionally. Missouri eliminated the tax deduction on supplies for teachers.

    Supply lists work better at the elementary level.

  8. Not just Kleenex. Many of the supplies parents are required to purchase go into a communal pot for the good of the classroom. Offering extra credit for these items undermines academic dignity.

    Given the dollars spent per child, even in the poorest states, there should be plenty of money for tissues. Unfortunately, much of that money goes to fund the latest educational fads, usually involving technology.

    Schools should make more discretionary money available to teachers to cover things like chalk, xerographic copies, and (of course) Kleenex.

  9. For 30 years, I’ve had to buy tissue for my classroom.

    Of course, I could order it from the warehouse, but that sometimes takes three weeks and a lot of paperwork.

    In the early years, we could only order a case, not a box. So, in order to order it, I had to find a group of other teachers who would share the expense.

    I save all my receipts and at tax I’m just amazed by how much money my wife and I spend. She’s also a teacher.

    One year, she spent $3,500 on supplies and I spent close to $2,000.

    We average about about $1,000 a year each. The woman who teaches one door down from me averages about $2,000 per year.

  10. Sandy P. says:

    It’s a requirement for my kindergartener.

    Just make it part of the supplies list. EOS.

  11. I’ve variously had to bring it in as a requirement, or done so for extra credit, from kindergarten through high school. Now in grad school, I don’t think it was such a bad deal. The kids who brought in kleenex for extra credit, including me, were usually the harder working ones anyways, so I don’t think it made much of a difference in grades.

  12. Am I the only one really upset about the fact that out of my property taxes, close to a thousand dollars a month goes to the local school (and I don’t have kids), and there’s this kind of nonsense going on?

  13. As homeschoolers, we had to pay for 100% of the tissue paper we consumed.

  14. Walter Wallis says:

    In a sane world, the classroom would have everything, then the ancillary buildings like toilets, libraries and gyms. Only then would one dime go to admin.

  15. Dave Dahlke says:

    So all this hype from Washington State education elites about teachers fleeing to California for the big bucks has its downside? Naw, everybody wants to teach in California the land of opportunity.

    Also, when they talk about extra credit for bringing in tissue, are there extra extra points for bringing in the Sears catalog?

  16. Several months ago I blogged about a flier I picked up at a local Wal*Mart listing supplies for the various grades at the local elementary schools. I was amazed at some of the required supplies (disposable camera? Ziploc™ bags? Yarn? Plastic utensils?)—it wasn’t until third grade that writing utensils were required.

    I don’t recall having to buy such odd supplies when going to elementary school. Paper? Pencils? Sure, Mom got them for me. Yarn? Disposable cutlery?

    What has happened in the past 25 years?

  17. My wife and I were co-presidents of our elementary PTA in Palo Alto many years back. It was one of the first schools to develop fundraising among parents (we had a silent auction each year) to provide supplements to the classroom budgets. I can see parents making some collective effort to provide for needs that the taxpayers in their myopic wisdom choose not to meet.

    But there’s really no room for claiming that credit for bringing in materials “doesn’t affect the grade that much.” If the project doesn’t advance the learning goals of the class, then the point/grade system should not be used. One result is some college students come shopping for “extra credit” in my classes. They have been taught that if you need a few extra points, you can strike a deal. Well, I say no deals.

    I do offer an occasional optional opportunity, but one directly on course goals. Today, after my class and I completed our poetry walk, I offered the option of writing a poem about the experience–20 points. But they supply their own paper and kleenex.

  18. Mark Odell says:

    There is an update to this story.

    John wrote: What’s happened in California–and perhaps elsewhere–is the conversation no longer is about how children learn (or, in the words of our current president, “Is they learning?”), but arguments about the level of funding and the source of funding.

    Since “there is no honor among thieves”, what else did you expect it to come down to in the end, other than their squabbling amongst themselves over how to divvy-up their stolen loot?

    And a huge number of Californians are still in thrall to the magic of Proposition 13, a bill of goods that has undermined the public school system and enriched the pockets of apartment and commercial property owners.

    [SARCASM]
    Yeah — how dare mere taxpayers demand to actually have a say in how much of their property is confiscated, and presume to question the revealed word of those wise and benevolent philosopher-kings, anointed to rule over we lower orders for our own good! I mean, we should be thankful for their omniscient, altruistic, disinterested guidance; otherwise, we might discover that we can manage our own affairs just fine without said philosopher-kings, and then where would they be? They’ve got to protect their phony-baloney jobs!
    [/SARCASM]

    In your opinion, should said property owners instead just pay up, shut up, and “be thankful I don’t take it all”, then?

    There is one big problem with Proposition 13, though: it left those who are the fat in the decision loop on how to cut the fat. Now, since politicians will never vote to limit their own power…. you see the problem.

    I can see parents making some collective effort to provide for needs that the taxpayers in their myopic wisdom choose not to meet.

    John, you can have as many opinions as you like about we taxpayers’ ocular ability, and that is your limit. Due to Proposition 13, the legislature is no longer permitted to just wave its magic wand and raise property taxes unilaterally: in other words, behave like masters rather than servants in this regard.

    boo wrote: Am I the only one really upset about the fact that out of my property taxes, close to a thousand dollars a month goes to the local school (and I don’t have kids), and there’s this kind of nonsense going on?

    No.

  19. John, sure I can claim that the extra credit for classroom supplies doesn’t affect the grade that much. It’s my grading system, and I know exactly how it works. What it does affect is morale. They feel like they can make up for a couple of missed questions on a quiz, and it keeps them from giving up… extra credit seems to make them work harder. I don’t know why it works.

    We have a really great PTA, but they make major purchases. Occasionally a great parent will swoop in and buy me all kinds of stuff or drop a check on me for classroom supplies. Most of them I buy myself, though.