Some school supply lists seem excessive.

A story on today’s Page 1 investigates supply lists for some Muskogee Public School classrooms, which ask students to bring not only pencil and paper, but a variety of other items, such as plastic bags, tissues, dry erase markers and reams of copy paper.

For many parents, who make decent wages, purchasing those items are not a big deal.

But the Muskogee area is not a high-income area. Many parents struggle, and that is evident by the number of banks, civic organizations and schools that accept donations to help parents outfit their children for school with supplies and clothes.

The Muskogee School District says these supply lists are not requirements, and children are not penalized for being without those items. Someone else does have to supply them, though, either teacher or community, and for those children who go to school without everything on the list, it can be an embarrassing situation.

We understand, though, that teachers are able to do creative things with some of the supplies they request students to bring. We no longer live in the days of schoolrooms whose only visual teaching aids are chalkboards. And today’s students expect more, as well.

So we commend teachers who are imaginative and use a variety of objects to make their classrooms more orderly and their classes more interesting.

But we need a balance.

Supply lists should be limited to the essentials of class work — pencil, paper, and other instruments used in writing, art or math.

The state should be doing more to provide classroom supplies, such as markers, copy paper, and educational aids, such as supplemental reading material. The lottery, which met its goal this year of raising $75 million to supplement education in Oklahoma, should be one source of those funds.

Also, parent organizations and corporate sponsors should be there to provide supplies that add creativity to a teacher’s classroom but are not affordable by all parents.

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