Squeezed by classroom budget cuts, the Rancho Bernardo High School teacher is selling ads on his exams to cover the costs of printing them.
If I'm mortified by anything in this story, it's that in a state that spends half its budget on schools, there isn't enough money for some teachers to make the copies we need.
I don't fault this teacher for doing this at all. I think it's creative. In fact, I've suggested similar, though not as creative, things in a previous post. The bottom line, though, is that while there is plenty of money going towards education in this state, it's clearly not being spent wisely if we're being penny-ante about copies. As a similar example from my own school, my department head told me yesterday that ordering the overhead projector bulb I need would almost bankrupt our department for the rest of the school year. Let me repeat: I need a light bulb for an overhead projector, a tool math teachers use daily. We have no bulbs in our supply cabinet, and barely have enough money to buy 1 more bulb for the whole department for the rest of the school year.
California Education Code Section 38118 states the following:
Writing and drawing paper, pens, inks, blackboards, blackboard erasers, crayons, lead pencils, and other necessary supplies for the use of the schools, shall be furnished under direction of the governing boards of the school districts.
Notice that this says shall, not can. No one really believes that schools provide pencils, paper, etc. to students, or else there wouldn't be Back To School Sales each August. So we don't provide what we're supposed to provide to students, and we don't provide to teachers even the minimum they need in order to provide instruction (overhead bulb) and assess learning (copies).
I don't fault this teacher one bit. I blame a school bureaucracy that includes the governor, the legislature, the elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, local school districts, and school site administrators for creating a situation in which a teacher would feel compelled even to spend one second of time thinking of how to raise money for test copies.