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NSSEA Study Finds Teachers Spend $1.6 Billion of Their Own Money on Educational Products for their Classrooms

Silver Spring, MD - It is estimated that public school teachers spent $3.2 billion in educational products in the 2012-2013 school year, $1.6 billion of it from their own pockets. These estimates are according to the recently-released NSSEA 2013 NSSEA Retail Market Awareness Study. This study, conducted by Perry Research Professionals this spring, reports on teachers' knowledge of parent-teacher stores, including their spending patterns, funding sources, shopping preferences, and factors that influence their purchasing decisions.

Here are some highlights from the report:
  • On average, teachers surveyed said they spent a total of $268 on school supplies in the 2012-2013 school year, $491 on instructional materials and an additional $186 on other classroom supplies for an average total of $945 on materials for their classrooms during the last school year. 
  • About 60 percent of teachers are aware of parent-teacher stores and 94 percent of those aware have shopped in these stores. Teachers who shop at parent-teacher stores reported spending an average of $327 at these stores for their classrooms.
  • On average, teachers spent 55 percent of their own money at discount stores (up from 30 percent in 2006, 40 percent in 2008, and 54 percent in 2010) and 17 percent at parent-teacher stores (down from 29 percent in 2008 and 26 percent in 2010).  Online spending has increased from 11 percent in the 2010 study to 16 percent in this study.
  • Twenty-five percent of teachers responded that parents are required to purchase classroom materials, down from 47 percent in the 2010 study when this question was first asked.
  • Fully 99.5% of teachers reported spending their own money on school supplies, instructional materials and/or other classroom materials. Ten percent spent $1,000 or more of their own money in total for the school year-about double the percent as in past studies.
  • On average, teachers reported spending about $149 of their own money on school supplies, $198 on instructional materials, and $138 on other classroom materials for a total of $485 in the 2012-2013 school year.
  • Comparing the data from the 2009-2010 survey when only school supplies and instructional materials were counted, teachers spent an average of $347 of their own money vs. $314 in the prior report, an increase of nearly 10 percent.
This report is available free to NSSEA members as a membership benefit; nonmembers may purchase a copy for $199. To obtain a preview copy for media coverage, please send email to adayton@nssea.org or call (800) 395-5550, ext. 1031. Full credit must be given to NSSEA. No re-sale or distribution of this material to any party outside your organization is permitted. For more information on NSSEA, please visit www.nssea.org.
Contact: Adrienne Dayton, NSSEA V.P. of Marketing & Communications, 800.395.5550, ext. 1031, adayton@nssea.org