A RetailMeNot Shoppers Trend Special Report: Launch of RetailMeNot's "Do the Math" Campaign Highlights Continued Nationwide Education Cuts and Costs
- The numbers are not adding up: In addition to nationwide cuts to education budgets, nearly 9 in 10 teachers (87%) reach into their own pockets to pay for classroom supplies
- Close to half (45%) of K-12 teachers feel their schools do not provide them with all the classroom supplies they need to do their job effectively
AUSTIN, Texas, July 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- RetailMeNot.com (www.retailmenot.com), the largest digital coupon website in the United States, today launched the "Do the Math" campaign, an in-depth review of the costs associated with education in the United States. The goal of the campaign is to increase awareness about the impact of nationwide cuts to education funding and to demonstrate how savings techniques on school year spending can be part of the solution to creating a more beneficial experience for students, parents and educators.
According to a study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, elementary, middle and high schools in 26 states received less state funding in the 2012–13 school year than they did the year before, and in 35 states, school funding was below 2008 levels. So, to kick off the multi-week campaign, RetailMeNot released findings from a Shoppers Trend Special Report that revealed the impact of these budget cuts on schoolteachers. According to the report, the cuts have forced teachers to pay for their own supplies to effectively teach students at the elementary, middle and high school levels. These expenditures could pose a significant financial burden on teachers, considering that the average salary for teachers in the 2012–2013 school year, as reported by the National Education Association, is estimated to be $56,383.
The new study by RetailMeNot, conducted with The Omnibus Company (www.omnibus.com), specifically revealed that:
- Nearly 9 in 10 (87%) teachers have had to pay for classroom supplies for their students using their own money.
- Nearly half (45%) of K–12 teachers report that their school does not provide them with all the classroom supplies they need to help them do their jobs.
- In addition to spending their own hard-earned salary on school supplies, nearly 9 in 10 (86%) teachers have taken some type of fundraising action to acquire classroom supplies, including:
- Petitioning school officials for more funding;
- Partnering with other teachers to share supplies; and
- Soliciting help from parents to contribute additional funds to make up for any supply deficit.
"Our survey reveals how budget cuts affect all members of the education ecosystem, from students and teachers to parents who are often asked to fill the void of economic shortfalls in our school systems," says Trae Bodge, senior editor for The Real Deal by RetailMeNot. "RetailMeNot.com, which supports a number of education-focused charitable initiatives, felt compelled to spotlight the plight of teachers who need our help in the coming school year to effectively teach their students."
The survey also found that more than 2 in 3 (67%) teachers surveyed have seen programs cut or reduced from their schools in the last three years. Among those who've experienced such cuts, the arts have suffered the most, with music (50%), art (49%) and theater (36%) topping the list.
- This problem seems to be more prevalent for schools in the Western part of the country, where 8 in 10 (80%) teachers report cutbacks in the past three years, versus 60% of their counterparts in the rest of the country.
- Similarly, 74% of teachers in urban communities say that reductions have happened in the last three years, compared with 63% of K–12 educators in more rural areas.
Teachers give up what they earn so students can learn
Almost 9 in 10 (87%) K–12 teachers report that, at least once, they've had to pay for classroom supplies using their own money.
- On average, 45% of teachers in public and private schools who have spent their own money on supplies would be willing to spend more than $100 in a single school year to guarantee that they have the items they need.
- Public schoolteachers appear to be the most willing to spend more of their money on purchasing school supplies with 47% willing to spend more than $100 on school supplies for their students.
What's more, close to 3 in 4 (74%) teachers can name at least one thing they'd be willing to spend less money on in their personal lives to ensure that they could buy all of their desired classroom supplies.
- A majority (53%) of this group would cut back on eating out, 45% would spend less on entertainment, such as tickets to concerts or sporting events, and another 35% would be willing to forgo clothing or shoe expenses in order to purchase classroom supplies if necessary.
- More 18- to 34-year-old teachers than those 35 and older (85% vs. 64%) would cut back on a personal expense for the ability to purchase items they need for the classroom.
Emotions are running hot …
The prospect of having to pull hard-earned dollars from their own pockets to purchase needed supplies evokes a range of emotions: almost half (48%) of respondents would feel frustrated; 39% would feel disappointed; and 15% would have feelings of anger. Frustration is more common among women than men surveyed (53% vs. 38%) and among teachers who have kids themselves (55% vs. 44% of teachers without children).
Do you know a teacher who's in need of supplies to better serve his or her students? Create a YouTube video nominating your favorite teacher. RetailMeNot will reward a 3-minute Costco shopping spree for the best video submission! For official rules and contest details, visit http://www.retailmenot.com/blog/2013-teacher-nomination-contest.html now through Saturday, August 10, 2013, to submit your nomination.
To access savings on everything from school supplies to clothes to electronics and dorm room gear, visit www.retailmenot.com/backtoschool.
The Teachers Survey was conducted between May 22 and May 28, 2013, among 325 K–12 teachers in the U.S., using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 5.4 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample. The margin of error for any subgroups will be slightly higher.
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