Education: The Economics of Back to School Shopping

With back to school season in high gear, you  might expect to see neighborhood stores packed with parents purchasing pencils and paper and binders and notebooks, the typical necessities for the typical student. However, if this year’s purchasing numbers are correct, you would be wrong.  The retail federation projected that families with children in grades K-12 would spend an average of $630 this year, about 6 percent less than in 2014. This comes as a major surprise, given that, due to budget cuts, schools are asking that their students supply more supplies than ever before.  “Under normal circumstances, school districts would pay for these basic necessities,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in an email. “But with steep funding cuts to education, parents and teachers are footing the bill, basically subsidizing public education for our children.”  his change only emphasizes the gap between rich and poor students, but educators believe that they are making the right choice, “I would rather our school worry about saving programs and services than buying tissues,” he said. “It doesn’t make me happy, but it’s worth it.”

Contributor: Phoebe Roe

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