Ok, so I read through all the responses first before I decided to post. I am an elementary school teacher and a mom of two. Some people had very good points and some were just very angry. Remember, there are always two sides to every story. Teachers have valid points as to why they ask for what they do and parents have valid points as to why they can't buy it all. You can find a compromise - don't be angry, schedule a time to talk to the teacher. Most are VERY willing to work things out and explain their points to you. I can only speak for myself, as I know everyone does things differently.
Personally, I have to pay for daycare for my two children in order to return to work. They both have late birthdays so will pay an extra year for both. For example, I will pay $190 per week for my daughter. Sounds like a lot, but when you break it down by hour and consider there are only 4 children in her class per teacher, not so much. A hot breakfast and lunch, as well as a snack are provided. I need to feel she is in a safe place. Plus, her place follows a school calendar and uses themes each week. Even the infants participate in arts and crafts as soon as they can sit up and make things with assistance - maybe fingerpaint. When I look at all she does in a week, then the $190 isn't so much. I understand times are tough right now and so people are tightening their purse strings. We all do what we have to when tough times arise. You're probably thinking that I should just stay home. Would if I could, even though I am paying all that $$ for daycare, I am the one who provides our families health insurance. My husband is self employed and can't get the coverage we have for the amount I can - even with all the other expenses.
I have been at three types of schools during my career. Each year there is a list compiled for supplies - as stated earlier, these are to help the teacher, help your children to learn to their maximum potential. Yes, we get supply money to spend, but it has to be through the catalog. I know I have $150 to spend for 18 children for a whole year. In that $$ I have to purchase copy paper, as I have to copy a lot of my curriculum. That is one way that cutbacks were made - not enough books for each student. A case of paper, even with the discount, is $35. I really only copy just what I need and I still need two cases per year = $70 from my $150. I also have to purchase laminating film and that is about $35 for a roll. So you see, though $150 sounds like a lot, it doesn't go as far as I would like. And yes, for those moms who say they aren't paying for that stuff, it is used for your children.
I do hit sales for items myself - I try to buy sets of items for those who can't - that is $ that comes from my personal pocket and away from my own children. Teachers have jobs that are pretty safe from the recession, however, we are not getting rich by any means. We usually teach because we like the job, not the money, but we all have families too that we provide for.
I know in my class that I collect supplies because I use a lot of them in community tubs. If all children put ALL of their supplies in their desk at the beginning of the year, by January most of it is gone. Plus, what child isn't tempted to play with all their supplies when they get them - new pencils always need sharpening, etc. :>) I have taken supplies simply to save them for the child, so the parent isn't buying more later, because the children are so preoccupied with playing with them. I know not all children are that way, but remember, you have one or two at home, we have a class full that we are responsible for and are trying our best to meet the needs of ALL of them.
I really am saddened by the tone of most of the posts you have gotten. As parents, you are your children's first teacher, we come second. Wouldn't it be in your child's best interest if we could ALL work TOGETHER to provide the best for your child instead of all this anger and accusations ? I'm not pointing fingers at anyone specifically, but some parents do feel that the teacher should handle a lot more responsibilities than we do. We only have them a short amount of time during the day. For example, I never used to, but now I have to teach manners as far as hand washing, blowing noses, covering mouths, etc. Things that are basic manners and should really come from the home. For example, I know that teachers ask for kleenex because of how MANY children use at once. Yes, we want them to have the supplies, but my class of 18 went through an entire box of 200 BEFORE lunch time! THus, we had a lesson about using a tissue and blowing our nose. I'm really not trying to complain, I do love my job. I just wish that parents could spend just ONE WHOLE day in a classroom to get a better understanding of what goes on. Then see if their is a way to work together with the teacher.
I will say that I thought the price of your list was excessive. Did you shop for sales ? Most people don't realize that as it gets closer to school starting, the prices will go down. OR stores will pick certain items one week for a sale and different ones the next week. Yes, it's a pain to make multiple trips but if you really want to save.......A lot of teachers I know do it.
Please, talk to your child's teacher. If you really can't afford the list, ask what is essential for the first week or so. See if you can slowly send in items as you can afford them. Like it or not, children can be mean. They will make fun of those who don't have or who have different. I know in life not everyone has the same, but it can be really hard when you are only 5 years old to accept being different.
I'm sorry for going on and on. Like another mom stated, I too, want what's best for my own children as well as those in my class that become like my children for the year I teach them. No one is perfect, everyone can tell a negative story, please try to find a positive and middle ground that works for you, your child, and the teacher. I know, there are some "dooozies" out there - it happens in all jobs. Try to give this teacher a chance until he/she gives you reason to feel otherwise.
On a side note, magnet schools can offer good opportunities. At the elementary age, Kindergarten is usually not part of the program, but the children receive the same benefits if the school is all magnet. Magnet programs usually start at first grade.
Best of luck to you! Hope you have a pleasant year and can find some middle ground for your concerns.