Skip to comments.'Non-Teaching' Staff Up 702 Percent Since 1950
Posted on 10/31/2012 5:23:41 AM PDT by MichCapCon
Michigan public schools have 4.2 percent more students than in 1992, but the number of non-teaching school employees is up 19.1 percent, an increase thats four times larger.
The number of teachers here grew 14.2 percent in that time, more than three times larger. The figures are from a just-released study by the Friedman Foundation, a national education reform group, and come from data provided by the U.S. Department of Educations National Center for Education Statistics.
The reports author, Benjamin Scafidi, an economist at Georgia College & State University, also found that for the nation as a whole, compared to 1950 there are 96 percent more public school students but a staggering 700 percent more administrators and other non-teaching staff, and 250 percent more teachers. State-level changes since 1950 were not reported.
Scafidi calculates that since 1992, if the number of non-teaching public school staff nationwide had only increased at the same rate as student population growth, taxpayers would be carrying 606,633 fewer non-teaching employees on public payrolls. Based on a conservative estimate of each one of these employees costing $40,000, taxpayers would have saved $24.3 billion in 2009. Or, alternatively, that money could have been used to boost average teacher pay by $7,500.
Student performance has not increased much despite more teachers and what the report calls non-teaching staff bloat. Scafidi reports that nationally, public high school graduation rates peaked around 1970; while high school reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (considered the nations report card) fell slightly between 1992 and 2008, and high school math scores were stagnant.
Not to defend this practice, but I wonder what percentage of those new people are hired to comply with paperwork from the federal government, from HR requirements, from union contract requirements, etc.
There are lots of jobs in the private sector that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for complying with government mandates, so my bet is that’s also true for the school systems.
I was going to say the same thing.
Here in Western MA, I can tell you that almost every decent sized school department has at least one grants writer. A good one will bring in hundreds of times their salary in money.
In addition, the requirements here for special ed are simply out of this world.
Finally, when we were kids there was THE school secretary in an elementary school. The paperwork and parent generated crap means there are two or three of them. And yes, parents now generate a lot of crap work that did not used to be done.
But, we should invest our dollars in Teachers—not always support staff.
If we operated like a business each school would establish performance goals in line with the District and then State goals. And success or failure would be measured.
The testing system we have is a good start, but the whole goal setting and measurement processes are unprofessional—at least in terms of their management.
The old union term is “featherbedding” I beleive.
True. When I was still in school back in the early 80s they started hiring people with fancy titles to do jobs that were already being done. Things like “Health Coordinators” and “Activities Directors”.
This “study” is worthless. Correlation does not equal causation. Decline in education quality could as easily be attributed to teenage cell phone usage or accessibility to Internet pornography by minors as it is student to teacher ratio. Further, the study does not seem to break down the functions of these non-teaching staff increases. Public schools have taken on greater roles in the lives of the students: more athletics, more food services, more transportation services, more technology services (the Internet did not exist in 1950 which this study compares present staff numbers with), staff benefit administration, dedicated staff for non-academic counseling, nursing, police and on and on.
The study attempts to make sense out of some selected data but fails miserably.
No doubt. Public education should be run entirely at the state and local levels where local communities want it. Vouchers would be a good start for putting education back in the hands of the parents.
On a related note, one wonders what the numbers indicate about the fraction of fighters relative to nonfighters in the military... and what is the cause of the modern enthusiasm for bureaucrats, their red tape and their dead weight.
Have we become a nation more excited about rules than achievement?
The irony here is that many of these administrators were required first to do all the additional unfunded mandates ladled on the schools under threat of having their federal school lunch program funds taken away; and second, because of the Department of Education, requiring even more administrative personnel to perform *their* unfunded mandates.
In other words, get the federal government out of the schools, and you reduce the need for administrative staff back to 1950s levels. When, I might add, students were doing academically much better than they are today.