|State||Public School Teachers, 2010||Non-Teaching Staff, 2010||Non-Teaching Staff per 100 Teachers, 2010|
At the Division of Labour blog, Frank Stephenson points to a new study by Ben Scafidi at The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice that finds (according to Frank) “Educrats Outnumber Teachers in 21 States.” The study is titled “The School Staffing Surge: Decades of Employment Growth in America’s Public Schools, Part II.” (Here’s a link to the companion study, Part I.) From the Executive Summary of Part II:
America’s K-12 public education system has experienced tremendous historical growth in employment, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Between fiscal year (FY) 1950 and FY 2009, the number of K-12 public school students in the United States increased by 96 percent, while the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) school employees grew 386 percent. Public schools grew staffing at a rate four times faster than the increase in students over that time period. Of those personnel, teachers’ numbers increased 252 percent, while administrators and other non-teaching staff experienced growth of 702 percent, more than seven times the increase in students.
That hiring pattern has persisted in more recent years as well. Between FY 1992 and FY 2009, the number of K-12 public school students nationwide grew 17 percent, while the number of FTE school employees increased 39 percent. Among school personnel, teachers’ staffing numbers rose 32 percent, while administrators and other non-teaching staff experienced growth of 46 percent, 2.3 times greater than the increase in students over that 18-year period; the growth in the number of teachers was almost twice that of students.
Part II of the study focuses on state-specific information about public school staffing. Among the findings:
Twenty-one “Top-Heavy States” employed fewer teachers than other non-teaching personnel in 2009. Thus, those 21 states have more administrators and other non-teaching staff on the public payroll than teachers. Virginia “leads the way” with 60,737 more administrators and other non-teaching staff than teachers in its public schools.
MP: That level of “educratification” and “administrative and non-teaching bloat” in America’s public schools is so stunning that I checked it out myself and created the table above using more recent 2010 data from the Department of Education for “Staff employed in public elementary and secondary school systems, by type of assignment and state or jurisdiction: Fall 2010.” Amazingly, the “administrative and non-teaching bloat” in America’s public schools has gotten even worse, and there are now 25 states with more “educrats than teachers.”
As Scafidi found for 2009, Virginia public schools led the nation in “educrat bloat,” with 130,100 non-teaching staff compared to only 70,947 teachers. That means that there were 183.4 public school administrators and non-teaching staff for every 100 teachers, or a ratio of almost two administrators and non-teaching personnel for every one teacher! The table shows the other 24 states in 2010 that had fewer teachers than administrators, which includes school district staff, principals and assistant principals, school and library support, librarians, guidance counselors, and other non-teaching support staff. For all US states combined, there were roughly an equal number of teachers (3.099 million) and non-teaching staff members (3.096 million) in 2010, for a ratio of one administrator or non-teaching staff member to every one teacher.
To get an idea of how drastically the situation has changed over time, consider that in the 1949-50 school year, teachers outnumbered non-teaching staff by 2.37 to 1. In other words, sixty years ago there were 237 public school teachers for every 100 non-teaching staff. Now in states like Virginia, that ratio has almost been completely reversed, and there are now 1.83 non-teachers for every public school teacher in Virginia, or 183 administrators and non-teaching staff for every 100 teachers!
As the share of non-instructional staffing has grown at US public schools, per-pupil expenditures in constant dollars have also grown significantly, from $1,708 in 1949-50 to $11,339 in 2008-09 (most recent year available). That’s a 564% and more than six-fold increase in real spending per pupil! It’s been well-documented that educational outcomes (e.g. test scores) have been flat for many decades, so we’re not getting any observable increase in quality for the six-fold increase in real spending per pupil. According to Scafidi, “The increases in public school employment since 1992 do not appear to have had any positive returns to students as measured by test scores and graduation rates.”
What we are getting is a “staffing surge” in public schools that has led to the same “administrative bloat” and “educratification” that is burdening the top-heavy higher education system with increasing administrative costs. Scafidi’s study documents how “states could save millions or even billions of dollars per year if they returned to staffing ratios present in FY 1992 for administration and other non-teaching staff.” Unfortunately, it’s the nature of
publicly taxpayer-funded bureaucracies to expand, and not contract administratively, so it’s unlikely that public schools or public universities will ever return to the administrative staffing levels of the past. But studies like these two from Ben Scafidi are still important, because these help to bring public awareness to the ”educratification” of America’s schools, and help to identify the main reason that public school expenditures and college tuition are increasing so dramatically in real dollars – “administrative bloat.”