- The most recent form of tax reform legislation proposed by Republican leaders last week would eliminate the $250 "educator expense deduction" that K-12 teachers can use to recoup money spent on books, supplies, professional development courses, and computer expenses for their classroom, Education Week reports.
- According to a survey from Scholastic, teachers spend an average of $530 of their own money for classroom supplies; in high-poverty schools, they spend even more.
- Teacher unions are speaking out against the new tax legislation because it cuts this provision and enacts other changes to education expenses, as well.
In an effort to streamline taxes, Congress is considering a number of tax reforms including cutting the educator expense deduction that allowed teachers to recoup a portion of the hundreds of dollars they dole out each year for supplies. Though this legislation has not been finally approved, the proposed cut concerns many educators and angers others.
While not much can be done about this tax issue beyond contacting legislators and expressing opinions, schools and teachers may need to look at other ways to address the issue of reducing the amount of money teachers spend for school supplies. While school supply drives do help, teachers often have classroom needs, such as incentives and classroom enhancements, that they wish to choose individually. In an ideal world, states or school district funding could be set aside so that teachers could have a set amount to spend for these purposes.
However, there are other options available. Grant funds are sometimes available, as well as crowdfunding projects. Community members can be invited to adopt a classroom or parents can be enlisted to find free resources for classroom materials. Whether this tax reform takes or not, schools still need additional supplies. Perhaps finding these resources could be a school or classroom project that teaches the realities of economics in our current society.