Anyone who has been through Alabama public schools, or has children in public schools, or pays attention to what goes on in public education, knows that teachers spend their own money for classroom supplies.
Doing this is often cited as evidence of our teachers’ commitment to their students. But noble and self-sacrificing as it is, it is a shame teachers have to do it. (In fact, we could argue it’s a state-imposed tax on teaching.)
Be thankful that help is on the way.
Gov. Robert Bentley has outlined many of the things he wants to do for education in the state. Among those, he has announced, is proposed legislation that would allow a tax credit for up to $300 for teachers who pay for their own classroom supplies.
Finally, Alabama may issue a tax break for a group that truly needs it.
Those who talk grandly about how teacher evaluations should take into consideration student achievement should consider how important school supplies are to the learning atmosphere. Handouts, study guides, work sheets and even pencils and paper are learning tools. Without them, it is difficult for a teacher to teach and difficult for a student to learn. Factor that into any teacher assessment.
So, kudos to the governor. Though teachers may prefer the money without the necessity of filling out tax-credit forms and saving receipts, under current circumstances this proposal makes sense.
Meanwhile, remember that parents are constantly asked to contribute school supplies for their students — and in some cases, for the whole class. Perhaps the governor would like to propose a tax credit for them, as well. And if we want to dream big, we would ask the state to pony up the money so that it pays for these essential supplies, instead of forcing teachers and parents to foot the bill.