Teachers describe the terrible state of American education

Teachers from across America (including a Philly elementary school with a $160 annual budget for 400 students!) wrote to Gawker to explain what the No Child Left Behind, charter movement, and the overall war on teachers and education has turned America's classes into.

The bottom line: teachers, scapegoated by the American right, are now expected spend thousands of dollars a year out of pocket to fit their classrooms with the most minimal supplies, and when they organize through their unions to complain, they're further vilified:

The cost. I spent over $2,000 on my classroom my first year. That includes: staples, tape, posters, baskets, file folders, bins, pencil sharpeners, bookcases, books for my classroom library, sticky notes, pens, pencils, folders, tissues, hand wipes, snacks, snacks, more snacks, movies, more books, whiteboard markers, a dongle, mp3 players for my special ed students to have audio-books, alarm clocks for my students who wake up late, tickets to my students' sports games, more books, my teaching books, printer paper, notecards, markers, colored pencils, colored paper, etc. I've already passed $800 this year— and I fundraised $600 from friends and family in addition. If you think I'm exaggerating, ask a teacher you know. She or he might even have some receipts to show you— I actually kept all mine from my first year. It was horrifying.

Why Teachers Pay for Students' Supplies Out of Their Own Pockets [Dayna Evans/Gawker]

(Image: Children Screaming, Will Perkins, CC-BY)