Recently, The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice conducted two reports examining school staffing practices around the country, finding that recent claims of teacher and educator shortages may be over-exaggerated.
The reports examined the school staffing practices from 1950 to 2009 using statistics from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.
The most recent report focused on the hiring practices of non-teaching staff from 1992 to 2009.
The authors found that 21 states currently employ more non-teaching staff—including bus drivers, librarians, cafeteria workers, deputy superintendents, accountants, coaches, nurses, assistant principals, and other non-teaching personnel—than teachers.
In 2009, administrators and other non-teaching staff outnumbered teachers in Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Louisiana, Wyoming, Vermont, Utah, Georgia, Alaska, New Hampshire, Iowa, and the District of Columbia.
“Taxpayers should be outraged public schools hired so many non-teaching personnel with such little academic improvement among students to show for it,” Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice said in a statement. “This money could have been better invested in areas that have proved to benefit children.”
The report comes as a follow-up to an earlier report that showed teacher staffing from 1950 to 2009 far outpaced student growth.
The number of K-12 public school students in the United States increased by 96 percent while the number of full-time employees grew by 386 percent. Of those personnel, teachers’ numbers increased 252 percent while administrators and other staff experienced growth of 702 percent.
Additionally, the reports also compared the growth rate among administrators and non-teaching staff with student enrollment. The authors found that 48 states could be saving $24 billion annually if the hiring of faculty and staff had not exceeded the growth of the student population from 1992 to 2009.
“States could do much more constructive things with those kinds of dollars,” Enlow said in a statement.
The authors explain that the money saved by adjusting hiring practices could be used to:
• raise every public school teacher’s salary by more than $11,700 per year;
• more than double taxpayer funding for early childhood education;
• provide property tax relief;
• lessen fiscal stress on state and local governments;
• give families of each child in poverty more than $2,600 in cash per child;
• give each child in poverty a voucher worth more than $2,600 to attend the private school of his or her parents’ choice;
• support a combination of the above or for some other worthy purpose
“State leaders could be permitting salary increases for great teachers, offering children in failing schools the option of attending a private school, or directing savings toward other worthy purposes. Instead states have allowed these enormous bureaucracies to grow,” Enlow continued.
Jillian Reed is a writer for 360 Education Solutions