Teachers Spend Out of Pocket Average of $593

The 240,000 teachers of Canada are digging deep into their own pockets to pay for student and classroom expenses to compensate for education budgets that have been cut. According to a survey conducted for the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), almost 95 per cent of teachers surveyed indicate they contribute some of their own resources over and beyond those provided by the school to support instructional and school-related activities.

Some Canadian teachers are contributing up to $1,000 per year to ensure students have the necessary learning materials. With a reported annual average of $593 per person, Canadian teachers contribute in the range of $143-million annually.

Among the major findings of the survey:
* 79 per cent of teachers use their own funds to purchase school books;
* 77 per cent of teachers purchase other school supplies.

“The survey reaffirms what we already know – funding cuts have had a dramatic impact on the availability of basic learning materials,” says CTF National President Marilies Rettig. “Teachers in classrooms across this country are so committed and dedicated to their students that they are paying significant sums out of their own pockets to ensure the students’ learning needs are addressed.

“We are very concerned over the dramatic decline of education funding over the past 10 years, as reported by the Conference Board of Canada. Teachers put in extra hours and their own money to make up for a lack of funding, and student learning and quality class time suffer without adequate teaching tools. “It is a fundamental responsibility of all governments to provide adequate funding to education, thereby ensuring that all children have access to necessary learning resources.

It’s time for governments to make a commitment to the most basic kind of education reform — providing appropriate resources and materials to children in the classroom. The education of our children depends on giving them the proper tools needed to succeed in life,” concludes Rettig.

The CTF survey was conducted among 1,902 teachers at the elementary and secondary school levels in all provinces and territories between December 2000 and January 2001 by Global Economics.