Survey shows Hawaii teachers spend $561 of their own money on school supplies

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According to 2011-2012 survey data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), teachers across the country spend hundreds of dollars every year out of their own pockets on school supplies for their students. The majority of these purchases do not get reimbursed.

Why look at data from 8 years ago? Because unlike the more recent 2015-2016 survey, the 2011-2012 data is broken down state-by-state. Compared to the 2015-2016 survey data, however, teachers are spending more now than they were during the throes of the Great Recession.

Picture courtesy of the Economic Policy Institute

On average, American public school teachers between kindergarten and 12th grade spend $459 of their own money on supplies for their students every year that does not get paid back. This average includes teachers who do not spend any money, or are completely reimbursed so that they are effectively not spending any of their own money.

Hawaii teachers are particularly affected by this trend, spending $561, or $102 more than the national average. Only teachers from California ($664) and Michigan ($628) spend more.

The survey also showed that teachers at schools in areas of high poverty tend to spend more than teachers who work in areas with low poverty.

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