The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice released a report today on which states have more non-teaching personnel than teachers, and Georgia is among the them. The study was done by Ben Scafidi, a one-time education adviser to Gov. Sonny Perdue and now an economics professor at Georgia College & State University.
I am not sure what to make of the findings as the 21 states cited in the report represent a range of student achievement. So, it’s not clear to me that the ratio of non-teaching personnel to classroom teachers correlates with how well kids do in school.
For example, the list includes both Minnesota, a historically high performing state, and Mississippi, a historically low performing state. The list includes union and non union states.
The official release has a statement that taxpayers should be outraged, but I don’t see why unless someone can show us that these staffing ratios affect student achievement. I believe most parents would want to see more teachers than non teachers on the school payroll, but, ultimately, they want to see their children succeed. Based on the standard benchmarks used to assess student success, children are doing well in some of the states on this list.
Here is the official release:
Twenty-one states employ more bus drivers, librarians, cafeteria workers, deputy superintendents, accountants, coaches, nurses, assistant principals, and other non-teaching personnel than they do classroom teachers, according to a new analysis of state education employees by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.
The report, a sequel to last fall’s “The School Staffing Surge : Decades of Employment Growth in America’s Public Schools,” examines states’ hiring patterns between 1992 and 2009. It found that, 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, which is treated as a state in the report.
“Taxpayers should be outraged public schools hired so many non-teaching personnel with such little academic improvement among students to show for it,” said Robert Enlow , president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. “This money could have been better invested in areas that have proved to benefit children.”
Virginia far outpaced other states with the number of excessive personnel outside the classroom with 60,737 more non-teaching staff than teachers, followed by Ohio with 19,040 more non-teaching personnel than teachers.
The report also compared the growth rate among administrators and non-teaching staff with student enrollment changes from 1992 to 2009. It found that 48 states could be saving $24 billion annually if the hiring of non-teaching staff had not exceeded the growth of students between 1992 and 2009.
In Texas, taxpayers would have saved almost $6.4 billion annually if public schools’ non-teaching personnel had not outpaced students. Virginia, Ohio, New York, California, and Pennsylvania each would have annual, recurring savings in the billions. Other states’ savings are in the millions; however, Nevada and Arizona actually saved money, as both its administrative and non-teaching personnel did not outpace student growth. Data were not available for South Carolina.
“States could do much more constructive things with those kinds of dollars,” Enlow said. “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.”
The report also shows the salary increases states could provide teachers annually if administrators and non-teaching personnel kept pace with the student population from 1992 to 2009. At the top was Virginia, which could provide teachers an annual salary increase of $29,007. Maine was second at $25,505.
The report was compiled with data from the National Center for Education Statistics and prepared by Ben Scafidi , an economist at Georgia College & State University and a senior fellow at the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog