At the start of the school year I happened to be in an office supply store and saw a woman buying a large stack of black and white composition notebooks. They were on sale for a dollar each and she had at least thirty of them. “You must be a teacher,” I said as I walked by her in the aisle. “I can’t pass up a deal like this,” she said as she confirmed my hunch. I have known teachers who spent their own money in order to provide construction paper and other supplies for creative projects for their classes and I asked if she were buying them out of her own pocket. “Not yet,” she said and explained that she is given a hundred and twenty-five dollars each year for supplies. When I left the store, I thought about that amount. A hundred and twenty-five dollars. Total. For her entire class. For the whole year. That doesn’t include books but school was just starting and already she had just blown a quarter of it on these notebooks. With between thirty and forty students in most public school classrooms, how far can that amount go? Not far, I suspect. Not far at all.