Teachers Spending More Out of Pocket on School Supplies Than Ever Before

National nonprofit releases 2021 teacher spending survey showing teachers spend on average $750 of their own money each year.
Aug 18, 2021 8:00 AM ET
Press Release

August 18, 2021 /3BL Media/ - AdoptAClassroom.org, the national nonprofit that provides funding for U.S. teachers and schools, today released the results of their 2021 classroom spending survey of 5,400 PreK-12 teachers at public, private and charter schools. The June 2021 survey found that teachers spent an average of $750 of their own money to purchase school supplies for their homes, classrooms and students during the 2020/2021 school year. 30% of teachers spent $1,000 or more on school supplies each year. Teacher spending has increased 25% since the organization began surveying teachers in 2015.

According to teachers, limited school supplies during distance learning negatively impacted students. 55% of students had few or no supplies at home when distance learning began. 65% of teachers said students were less likely to participate during distance learning because they did not have what they needed. 55% said they had students who did not engage with their education last school year at all.

Even though many students returned to school in person, safety measures due to COVID-19 significantly limited access to supplies. 80% of teachers said students had less access to supplies they needed because they could not share. 70% of teachers said they had to change their lesson plans because they did not have the resources they needed.

In addition to school supplies, teachers are also purchasing personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies for their classrooms to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Teachers spent an average of $160 out of pocket on PPE and related supplies for their classrooms during the 2020-2021 school year.

Looking ahead at the upcoming school year, teachers are in need of support. 95% of teachers said their classroom supply budget will not be enough to meet their students’ needs. When asked what their largest challenges will be this upcoming school year, 65% of teachers said providing their students with the school supplies they need to learn. 65% of teachers said helping their students overcome the trauma of COVID-19. 60% said getting their students who have been disengaged during the pandemic back on track.

When it comes to the supplies that would help their students have a successful year, teachers said they needed the following:

  • Basic School Supplies - 80%
  • Technology - 60%
  • Inclusive/Adaptive Materials - 60%
  • Books - 55%
  • Furniture - 50%
  • PPE, Cleaning and Safety Equipment - 45%

Teachers in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and U.S. territories were represented in the survey. 80% of the teachers who responded work for high-needs schools where 50% or more of students receive free or reduced lunch.

Visit www.AdoptAClassroom.org to read more about the results of their survey or to see how to support educators who need learning supplies. Subaru of America, Inc. provided support to obtain these survey results as part of Subaru Loves Learning.

To download and share graphics representing the survey results, click here.

About AdoptAClassroom.org
AdoptAClassroom.org believes every child deserves the tools and materials they need to learn and succeed in school.  The national, tech-based nonprofit connects donors and sponsors with PreK-12 teachers and schools to help equip more classrooms and students with school supplies. Since 1998, AdoptAClassroom.org has raised $57 million and supported more than 5.8 million students across the U.S. The 501(c)(3) holds the highest 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and the highest transparency rating offered by GuideStar.  For more information, or to make a donation, please visit www.adoptaclassroom.org.

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Contact:
Devon Karbowski
AdoptAClassroom.org
(218) 576-9829
dkarbowski@adoptaclassroom.org