Spotlight Cast on Out-of-Pocket Spending by Those in High-Poverty Schools

An overwhelming majority of teachers (97 percent) and principals (98 percent) surveyed agree that equity in education should be a national priority, according to a new poll conducted by Scholastic Inc. 

A total of 3,694 teachers (including 76 school librarians) and 1,027 principals (including 146 vice principals) completed the survey.

In the past year, the teachers who participated in the survey spent $530 of their own money on items for their classroom or student use, with teachers in high-poverty schools spending nearly 40 percent more than other teachers.

“Teachers across school poverty levels are spending their own money on a wide variety of items for their students and classrooms,” according to the report. Principals in high-poverty schools spend about twice as much of their own money than principals in low-poverty schools, and teachers are more likely to purchase food and snacks for students, as well as cleaning supplies.

A great deal of the money goes toward providing students with food and snacks, clothing, and supplies like notebooks and binders, as well as tissues, hand sanitizer and other sundries.

The report reveals that, on average, principals spent $683 of their own money in the past year on items for school, classroom and student use. Despite the challenges, 99 percent of teachers and principals involved in the report agree their career is rewarding and the challenges are worth it.

This article was featured in the Volume 88, Winter/Spring 2017 issue of AFSA’s newsletter, The Leader. To read the newsletter in its entirety visit: