NEW KENT, Va. (WRIC) — Back-to-school season is not only for students but for teachers too. “Clear the List” is a social media movement where teachers across the country ask for help to buy supplies for the upcoming school year.
One local teacher said Wednesday that the small gesture can make a big change.
“We ask for so little and our needs are so great,” Beth Allums, a high school art teacher in New Kent, told 8News. “Towards the end of August or mid-August, I’m ready.”
For the last 17 years, Allums makes the same back-to-school shopping haul at the end of every summer. With all the excitement, however, comes a hefty price tag.
“It’s not just the supply list that the kids need,” she said. “The teachers need a lot of stuff to get ready.”
Teachers are now turning to social media for help with their shopping. They are making their lists and asking for donations from strangers to buy school supplies.
“It doesn’t matter if your kids have lots of money, if your kids are poor,” Allums said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a private school or a public school, teachers spend out of pocket. A lot.”
According to a survey by the National Center for Educational Statistics, 94 percent of teachers spend their own money on behalf of their students, which add up to hundreds of dollars. Allums told 8News the government also gives teachers a $250 tax deduction every year but it’s not enough.
“People don’t realize how much teachers spend out of pocket,” she said.
Allums says the help of the community is a good start.
“Not everyone in the community has kids,” Allums told 8News, “but we all serve the community regardless of if you have kids that go to the community school or not. I think it’s a great way for the community to give.”
Allums said this is the first year she has seen a major push online to help teachers get their school supplies. She believes the “Clear the List” method is a step in the right direction.