Supporting Our Teachers


Date: Nov. 18, 2013

In an essay on learning how to ride a bicycle, Mark Twain once observed that "the self-taught man seldom knows anything accurately, and he does not know a tenth as much as he could have known if he had worked under teachers."

Teachers play an essential role in our educational system. We rely on them to teach our children the skills they need to succeed in life. But we know that each teacher has a slightly different style in educating our nation's students.

Every year, teachers all across the country dip into their own pockets to purchase classroom supplies they believe will benefit their students and create a better learning environment. In fact, on average, teachers spend nearly $1,000 of their own money, per year, on various items needed for the classroom. They typically do not get reimbursed for buying the kinds of charts, books, and instruments that can help kids better understand different subjects.

To reward those teachers who go the extra mile for their students, Congress authorized a $250 above-the-line tax deduction for full-time educators who purchase classroom supplies out of their own pockets. This deduction is set to expire at the end of the year.

That's why I have introduced legislation to extend this valuable benefit for our nation's teachers through 2019. This bill will increase the deduction for full-time teachers to $500 a year and make available, for the first time, a $250 deduction to part-time teachers. It will also allow preschool teachers in state-recognized schools to take the deduction.

Teachers have a difficult job, and those working hard to educate our children should be rewarded for their excellence.