This School Survey Found What Educators Need

Educators are in desperate need of supplies. The average teacher spends $740 a year of their own money on classroom materials, but that’s not enough to keep up with the needs of their students throughout the school year. To better serve teachers and schools, conducted a national school survey of K-12 educators to find out which classroom materials they need most. The results helped explain why they spend so much of their own money to stock their classrooms.

See the results of’s December 2019 school survey that gives context to why K-12 educators spend so much money on their students:

The Short Lifespan of Classroom Consumables

Classroom consumables are common school supplies like paper, pencils, and markers that are used up and replaced regularly throughout the school year.

Our school survey found that almost all of the materials educators need are classroom consumables that they’re constantly replacing. As shown in the below image, 100 percent of the top five classroom materials surveyed educators say they need are consumables with a short lifespan. More than 93 percent of the top 15 supplies educators need are consumables.

The average U.S. educator only has a $212 classroom budget for the entire school year. Many of them spend their budget during the back-to-school season and dip into their own pockets to replace consumable supplies throughout the rest of the school year. As a result, 60 percent of the top five classroom supplies educators purchase using their own money are consumables.

The Need for Wellness Items

Educators make some surprising purchases for their students because basic classroom supplies aren’t the only items they need in school.

Many educators also fill the role of nurse, therapist, guidance counselor, social worker, and more for their students. Notably, our school survey found that educators overwhelmingly need wellness items.

These are the top five most common wellness items surveyed educators say they need:

  1. 79 percent need band-aids
  2. 71 percent need tissues
  3. 64 percent need hand sanitizer
  4. 60 percent need first aid kits
  5. 57 percent need granola bars

At, we believe that every child should have access to the resources they need to be successful in school. Our survey highlights the fact that the need for educators to spend their own money to do their job won’t go away on its own. That’s why works with donors across the country who want to help fill the supply gap in our nation’s classrooms.

Help educators stock their classrooms with the supplies they need today. Find and donate to a classroom or school that needs support here.

If you’re an educator in need, learn more about our Teacher Program or School Program.