Treat teachers like bankers?

June 7, 2007

A reader named Sam left this comment, in response to my post on teachers being overworked and underpaid, and I elevate it because it demonstrates, once again, how teachers get dumped on in ways that other professions don’t; Sam makes a good point:

It would be interesting to take into effect that teaching is one of the few jobs where people expend large quantities of their own money to do their job. I was a principal in a large urban district before I left education for a private sector consulting job. Part of the reason I left was the paper rationing that occurred during my last two years on the job. Our school district limited our teachers to three sheets of paper per student per week in an attempt to cut costs. Even the best, most engaging hands-on learning takes more than three sheets per week. Add in the lunch menus, report cards, and parent letters that need to go home and it would guarantee that our paper supply usually ran dry by March 1 or so and my teachers ending up buying their own paper.

Could you imagine the uproar that would occur in the mortgage department of a bank if suddenly employees were required to buy their own copy paper? Why is that acceptable for our teachers?

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service even has a specific standard deduction for teachers to use to cover the materials they take to the classroom, that would be supplied by other employers, that should be supplied by the schools. Isn’t it odd that we make provisions in the tax code to try to offset this error, rather than try to fix it?

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