Research: Over 90% of educators personally fund purchases for back-to-school materials

Amid the national conversation about rising expenses for parents preparing their children to return to school, a recent investigation reveals an intensified burden on teachers. A groundbreaking survey unveiled that over 90% of educators have personally covered the costs of classroom supplies this academic year.

This comprehensive analysis, carried out by, unveiled that 47% of teachers experienced emotions of guilt or inadequacy due to their inability to allocate more funds for their students.

“Financial pressures on teachers are mounting, adding to the myriad challenges they already face in their roles,” remarked Madeline Weirman, the project manager who led the research initiative.

Teachers Dipping Into Their Own Pockets as School Returns
A comprehensive survey encompassing 367 educators across the United States has unveiled that more than half of them are investing upwards of $100 to prepare their classrooms for the upcoming academic term.

The study highlighted a stark reality: teachers in economically disadvantaged schools are frequently burdened with the responsibility of supplying their own classrooms. An astounding 62% of teachers from Title 1 schools are shelling out $100 or more on back-to-school provisions.

The findings also indicated that 34% of surveyed teachers believe their school’s supply quantity falls short. Interestingly, educators who expressed this sentiment were 59% more likely to spend beyond $200. Furthermore, 20% of teachers expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of school-provided supplies, resulting in a 50% increased likelihood of spending over $200.

“Our schools are, regrettably, under-resourced, and there’s an unspoken expectation that teachers will finance their own school supplies and equipment,” stated Princess Moss, Vice-President of the National Education Association. “This shouldn’t be the case. We don’t require nurses and doctors to procure their own tools for performing their duties.”

Educators Turning to Amazon Wish Lists for Classroom Support
A recent survey revealed that teachers are increasingly utilizing Amazon Wish Lists as a means to procure resources for their classrooms.

For the 2023/2034 school year, the average expense for a wish list amounts to $281, reflecting a significant 12.4% escalation in costs since 2021.

The top items frequently featured on these wish lists include loose-leaf paper, purple school glue, and backpacks. Predominant categories in demand encompass stationery, books, and clothing.

The study meticulously examined 27 teacher-generated wish lists, cross-referencing the data with insights from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Teachers Continuously Bear Classroom Costs Throughout the Year
The latest research adds to a growing body of evidence this year illustrating the financial strain teachers experience due to inadequate supplies.

Earlier in the current academic year, Adopt A Classroom published a study indicating that teachers, on average, expended $860 from their own pockets for classroom supplies.

The same study highlighted that 16% of teachers take on second jobs to sustain their careers in education.

According to data from 3,200 surveyed teachers, the average classroom budget for the previous year amounted to $200. Alarmingly, 84% of educators disclosed that they used personal funds to cover the expenses of essential school supplies. Furthermore, over 90% stated that their classroom budgets fell short of adequately meeting their students’ requirements.

“The issue speaks to the broader concept of showing respect for the profession and the educators who dedicate themselves to it,” emphasized Moss. “Considering the ongoing educator shortage and the longstanding history of educators being undervalued and underpaid, the public should definitely be concerned about this matter.”