Policy & Funding
More Teachers Spending Out of Pocket on Basic Resources for Their Classrooms
More K–12 educators are spending their own money on classroom
essentials like books and other learning materials, according to a
survey. At the same time, most are not being given a say in how
American Rescue Plan funds are being allocated.
The survey of 2,004 educators who serve kids in need, conducted by
Book Research & Insights (FBRI), a program run by nonprofit
equity organization First
Book, found that 20% more educators are spending their own funds
on learning resources compared with last year. A majority of
educators, 59%, are spending $100 to $500 out of pocket. Another 17%
are spending $500 to $1,000. And 13% are spending more than $1,000.
According to FBRI, only 2% spent none of their own money. (The
remainder spent $100 or less.)
While 97% of respondents to the survey said they wanted o give input
on the use of American Rescue plan funds, 75% said they have not
been able to do so.
Among the top funding priorities for educators who participated in
86% placed books in their top-5 priorities, with
31% prioritizing books as their No. 1 choice;
A massive 79% prioritized student mental health
resources, with 18% citing this as their top priority;
Additional support staff ranked third at 59%,
with 19% citing this as their top choice;
WiFi access was fourth,
at 52%, with 12% ranking it No. 1; and
Educator mental health resources came in fifth,
also at 52%, but with far fewer ranking it as their No. 1 priority
than WiFi access.
The remaining priorities in the top 10 included
community partnerships (46%), remote learning support (43%),
anti-bias and anti-racist teaching resources (30%), health and safety
products (27%) and professional development (25%).
When asked specifically about remote learning, 76%
said they would prioritize purchasing digital remote learning
resources. Apps came in at 68%; hot spots and internet access at 58%;
online learning tools at 52%; and iPads at 48%.
survey is freely available on the FBRI website.
About the Author
David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.
He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).