Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Price of Literacy


is what you have to buy if you want to send two children to the public school my sons attend.

We don't have any backpacks big enough for all that stuff.

I accept that I have a big ol' list of things to buy for my kids' school that I wouldn't anticipate having to supply (lunch bags, Ziploc bags, paper plates, composition notebooks), but some of the items were amusing to me:

* A pack of addition and subtraction flashcards. (Isn't this precisely what teachers are for?)
* Two bottles of hand sanitizer. (Isn't that what sinks are for?)
* Five portfolio folders with 2 pockets inside ("2 blue, 2 yellow, and 1 additional color").
* One ruler with inches and centimeters. (What? As opposed to hectares?)
* Two large boxes of tissues.

That's all from the first grade supply list. Kindergartners only have to take in one large box of tissues. And no hand sanitizer. Apparently, they don't have to be as clean. They also don't have to supply the Clorox wipes that the first graders have to.

Oddly, even though the kindergartners don't have to take in paper plates, they have to take in snack to share. The first graders take in paper plates, but no snack.

I would have been slightly less irritated by this list if Target hadn't been out of crayons. And pencils.

Fortunately I happened to have the 22 required glue sticks at home because Target was out of those too. (I got a little overexcited about the cheap glue last year during school supply shopping.)

Nonetheless, I had to drag my now-irritated group of young men to Office Depot to spend $30 on top of the $50 I'd spent at Target. (Hand sanitizer is surprisingly expensive.)

All I have to say is that after sending 200 lunch-size brown paper bags into that school, I'd better see a whole hell of a lot of paper bag puppets coming home.


  1. They have to supply their own germ killers now? wtf is up with that and just how dirty are these classmates? Perhaps a midday bleach dip en masse would knock a few supplies off the list and save everybody a whole whack of trouble. And you wonder why I'm not on the PTA.

  2. Wow. That list seems quite bold. I don't remember my parents having to supply anything for me to attend public school. I mean, besides me. Oh and a smock.

  3. Holy crap, that's a lot of glue sticks.

    I hear you on the backpacks -- we've stuffed Mimi's with the required first grade supplies (including Ziploc bags, wide ruled paper, a composition book, and the now-infamous hand sanitizer) and we have an overflow bag of supplies in a Target back that she'll have to hand carry. Good thing too, otherwise the bulk of it all would just knock her over.

  4. Like KC, I don't remember having anything like a list in school.

    I was pleased and relieved to receive "the list" and learn that kindergarteners were exempt.

  5. pictures the other day) for our stuff. I can at least see in our case (private school) but to send all that in in Public school? Nuts.

    Our kindergarten list was so long, the teacher broke it up into three sections - bring this day 1, this day 2 and these day 3.


  6. And blogger ate the first half of my comment - bugger! It should start:

    I posted our lists (but not pictures...

  7. My son's public school list includes a large laundry bag - can't be mesh, however. Reason: in case of a lice breakout, kids can put their coats and hats in their own separate bags. EWWWW. Know how hard it is to find a non-mesh laundry bag????

  8. Holy crap, ya got enough glue??

    My kids' backpacks are stuffed to the gills plus they each have one grocery sack to tag along. I worry about them toppling over trying to walk into school tomorrow.

  9. I love that you took a picture of the supplies!! I should do that. The funniest thing on our list was "one clean sock" ??!! I spent $110 on school supplies, and yes, I'm wondering how the heck to get it to the classroom. My son can't possibly carry it himself.

  10. Tell me about it, I have a 1st grader and seconder and between them I need to send in 12 composition books 12 folder, 96 presharpened pencils, 5 packages of baby wipes 6 packages of tissues.......

    Then on the bottom of the list is a little note " please plan on replenishing these items through out the year =)" they signed it with a smilely face!!

    This is craziness I am close to hitting 200, for those 2. My pre-k-er needs a folder that they supply so she just has a backpack. Next year ought to be fun!!

  11. i have been hearing about all this stuff you have to bring for your kids ??? tissues ?? it seems so wrong. don't we pay taxes for this shit.

  12. I feel your pain. My pet peeve is when they ask for specific brands: not just #2 pencils, but #2 TICONDEROGA pencils, thank you very much. I used to be docile and compliant and buy exact what was directed. Now that I'm jaded and cranky, I buy whatever's on special and they can take it or leave it.

    Wait till your boys get old enough to need the $100 graphing calculators!

  13. I feel your pain. My pet peeve is when they ask for specific brands: not just #2 pencils, but #2 TICONDEROGA pencils, thank you very much. I used to be docile and compliant and buy exact what was directed. Now that I'm jaded and cranky, I buy whatever's on special and they can take it or leave it.

    Wait till your boys get old enough to need the $100 graphing calculators!

  14. I can't believe the amount of glue sticks you had to send! We only had to send one. We bought five though. I have a good friend who is a teacher and she told me that a good 25% of parents won't send what they're supposed to. Guess who ends up having to buy the supplies for those kids? Yeah, the teacher. So now we always over buy by a little to try to make up for the people who can't be bothered to buy their kids school supplies.

    I don't know why I went off on a rant like that. I think I'm in shock from all the glue you bought.

  15. My MOMS club is doing a school supply drive and when I went to Office Depot to buy the required items, I about fell over at the price!

  16. Amazing! Sounds like some of those lists should be standardized some. The paper plate thing and honestly - how many glue sticks did they ASK for??

  17. So I shouldn't bitch about the $123.00 in catholic school gym uniforms?

  18. All I can say is, the class will be out of tissues and sanitizer by March. Seriously.

    Be a hero and send extra in the spring. And if your kids are in DCPS, buy the teacher a giftcard to CVS. You can't begin to imagine how much they spend out of their own salaries.

  19. What a huge list. I remember when we only needed three boxes of tissues and a notebook. Guess I'm old.

    And Cordy is going into her second year of preschool, which means another year without supply lists. Whew.

  20. I cleared out teh Walmart of spiral notebooks, glue sticks, scissors (why do *I* have to provide scissors?), crayons, pencils, dry-erase markers, and folders weeks ago. I figured by now, all that stuff would be gone.

    I have a nice tub I bought to put the First Grade Supplies in, plus the stuff i know our teacher likes to have, like copy and colored paper, playdough, baby wipes, and a couple rolls of paper towels. I intend to make the bus driver tote it to school for me on Day One. She's good-humored that way.

    Check out the lists:
    Supply List 08-09


    (First Semester)
    2 boxes Crayons
    1 Pkg Pencils #2
    1 Bottle Elmer’s Glue
    3 Glue Sticks
    2 Pair Scissors
    1 Book bag
    1 Container Liquid Soap
    1 Bottle Sanitizer Waterless
    1 Box Tissues
    1 Box each Ziplock bags Gallon and quart size
    3 Dry erase markers Black
    1 Pkg Babywipes
    1 Composition book
    1 Tshirt Large
    1 Change of clothes for winter
    1 Change of clothes for summer

    (Second Semester)
    2 Boxes Crayons
    1 Bottle Elmer’s glue
    3 Glue sticks
    1 Container Liquid soap
    1 Bottle Sanitizer Waterless
    1 Box Tissues
    1 Box each Ziplock bags Gallon and quart size
    4 Dry erase markers
    1Pkg Baby Wipes

    1 Pair Scissors Fiskars, if possible
    4 Bottles/ 8 Sticks Elmer’s Glue/Glue Sticks (If glue, white 4 oz.)
    3 Boxes Crayons 24count
    2 Spiral Notebooks No perforated pages
    2 Folders w/brackets Solid color
    6 Folders (various solid colors) Plain w/bottom pockets
    1 Box #2 Pencils
    2 Composition Books Hardbound b/w marble
    3 Boxes Tissues
    4 Bottles Liquid Soap
    1 Box Plastic Storage Bags Sandwich size (zipstyle)
    1 Box Storage Bags Gallon size (ziptype)
    1 Pkg of 4 Dry Erase Markers (black) Broadtip (no other colors)
    1 Eraser White board
    1 Pencil Box or Pouch Hard plastic – approx. 5 x 8
    1 Art Smock
    2 Highlighters Yellow
    2 Bottles Hand Sanitizer
    2 Pkgs Sanitizing Wipes

    Once upon a time, schools paid for these things. Then the teachers had to stat paying for it, which sucked. Now we pay for it, retail. Which super-sucks. There's got to be a better way.

  21. Wow. I think all I brought to school was a 64 pack of crayons (pencil sharpener included!) and a nap mat.

    First grade sure has changed.

  22. WTF??? Glad I home school right now!

  23. Once upon a time ago, I was a teacher in the Greater Baltimore area (several schools both in & out of the city). I remember as a teacher making so much money that I had to work as a cashier at Giant to make ends meet. That I had to provide all of that cr@p! Sure the kids would arrive at the begining of school with supplies, but by October/November it was GONE.


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