Reddit Is Doing Something Amazing For Teachers Before The School Year

Pay it forward — to a teacher.

According to a survey taken last summer by the National School Supply and Equipment Association, an organization that represents the school supply industry, teachers pay for 77 percent of the supplies needed in the classroom. 

That's like asking a construction worker to buy his own beams and it doesn't make sense.

Organizations dedicated to helping teachers have evolved because of this sad reality, but for the past four years, RedditGifts, a section dedicated to helping others, has stepped up to the "giving to teachers" plate. It's called "RedditGifts for the Teachers" and the campaign matches givers with teachers to ship them the supplies that they need.

About 14,000 educators signed up for help, as well as more than 10,000 givers.

The teachers described that their needs range from books to gas cards. The most requested item was pencils.

"Believe it or not, the students constantly take home the pencils because they don't have any at home. I want enough pencils so that, for the entire year, none of the 60 students I teach is ever without the most basic of tools necessary for learning."

The problem stems from the fact that budget cuts prevent the schools from having the money to spend on learning tools. From supplies to make a model shark for Shark Week to books and pencils — what one would expect a school would consider learning necessities. 

The stories that the teachers shared with the RedditGift organizers are harrowing:

I work in an underfunded district. To quote our assistant principal at a staff meeting this afternoon, "Our supplies are so low that if you asked me for a desk, I might have to pawn something to afford a flat surface for you to write on.
I have a $25 budget for supplies for the year, which works out to $0.28 per student.

Education budget cuts are a fairly common occurrence in the U.S., but they've had some negative implications for both teachers and their students. As of last year, schools were funded less than they were before the recession. 

In 2012, a proposed budget cut of $1.1 billion that would directly hit the Department of Education threatened to a shut down of 4,000 schools with 1.8 million disadvantaged students. And the educators at schools kept open still scramble to supply basic teaching tools and resources for their students, as displayed by those who requested help from RedditGift. 

It's a sad reality, but in the meantime, Reddit is doing what it can to help make up the difference. 

A Plus has reached out to Reddit and will update should it comment.