New Study Finds Public School Employment Far Outpacing K-12 Student Enrollment
$24.3 billion in potential savings could help teachers, kids
From Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
INDIANAPOLIS — America’s public schools saw a 96 percent increase in students but increased administrators and other non-teaching staff a staggering 702 percent since 1950, according to a new study of school personnel by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.
The report, “The School Staffing Surge: Decades of Employment Growth in America’s Public Schools,” found the seven-fold increase in administrators and other non-teachers in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Teaching staff, in comparison, increased 252 percent.
This trend has continued in recent years as well.
According to the study, virtually all 50 states saw “bloat” or an excessive increase in the size of non-teaching personnel compared to student population. Among the states with the most disproportionate increases were:
- Hawaii. Student enrollment increased 2.7 percent while administrators and other non-teaching staff increased 68.9 percent from FY 1992 to FY 2009.
- Ohio. Student enrollment increased 1.9 percent compared to a 44.4 percent increase in administrators and other non-teaching personnel during the same period.
- Minnesota. Student enrollment increased 8.1 percent compared to an increase in administrators and non-teaching personnel of 68.2 percent.
- New Hampshire. Student enrollment increased 11.7 percent while administrators and non-teaching personnel increased 80.2 percent.
Some states actually had decreases in student enrollment from FY 1992 to FY 2009, but only Montana reduced the number of non-teaching personnel. Some states had dramatic gains in personnel outside the classroom despite a loss in student population. For example:
- Maine had a decrease of 10.8 percent in student population yet increased its non-teaching staff by 76.1 percent.
- South Dakota lost 3.9 percent of its student population yet increased non-teaching staff by 55.4 percent.
- The District of Columbia lost 14.8 percent of its students yet increased non-teaching staff by 42 percent.
The report was compiled with statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics by Ben Scafidi, an economist at Georgia College & State University and a senior fellow at the Friedman Foundation.
“It’s astounding that billions of dollars are wasted on personnel in American public schools who do not produce educational results,” said Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. “We need to rethink how we spend our money including whether we would get better student outcomes if we redirected these funds to parents so they could send their child to the school of their choice.”
The study also found that if non-teaching personnel had grown at the same rate as student population, American public schools would have an additional $24.3 billion annually. Scafidi’s report concluded that $24.3 billion is equivalent to an annual $7,500 raise per teacher nationwide or a $1,700 school voucher for each child in poverty.
Despite the increase in personnel, public high school graduation rates peaked around 1970, and data show that reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress fell slightly between 1992 and 2008. Math scores were stagnant during the same period.
To read the full report, go to: www.edchoice.org/StaffSurge.
For individual state data, see: www.edchoice.org/StaffSurge/Map.