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Non-Teaching School Staff Costing Taxpayers Money


Non-Teaching School Staff Costing Taxpayers Money
Lindsey Burke
March 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm

The U.S. public education system has seen an enormous increase in staff over the past few decades. But unlike private companies, which base staffing decisions on product demand, the number of school staff positions has increased rapidly without a commensurate increase in the number of students served by the system.

A new report by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice highlights just how bad the school staffing surge has become:

Public schools grew staffing at a rate four times faster than the increase in students [from 1950 to 2009]. 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.

The Friedman report points out that there are 21 “top-heavy states” that employ more non-teaching personnel in the school system than teaching personnel. Benjamin Scafidi, the report’s author, writes that “Virginia ‘leads the way’ with 60,737 more administrators and other non-teaching staff than teachers in its public schools.” In another example, the report points out that the state of Maine experienced an 11 percent decline in students from 1992 to 2009, yet it increased the number of administrators and other non-teaching personnel in its public schools by 76 percent.

That’s the type of staffing surge that, if reversed, could save some $24 billion annually, Friedman estimates.

The Friedman Foundation’s research mirrors Heritage findings on the dramatic increases in education staff over the decades. Since 2000, the percentage of teachers as a portion of school staff has decreased by nearly 3 percent; since 1970, that percentage has declined by 16.5 percent. Notably, the percentage of teachers as a portion of school staff has decreased more than 28 percent since 1950. Today, teachers comprise just half of all education jobs.

Not surprisingly, academic achievement and graduation rates have shown little to no improvement over the same time period.

States should consider cutting costs in areas that are long overdue for reform and should refrain from continuing to increase the number of non-teaching staff in public schools. As the Friedman report concludes: “The policy of increasing public school staffing does not appear to improve student achievement—despite its massive and on-going cost to taxpayers.”

14 thoughts on “Non-Teaching School Staff Costing Taxpayers Money

  1. Like Ridgewood where we hire teacher aides to avoid the cost of more teachers. Some of the aides actually have teaching degrees. Schools cannot run with teachers alone. The non-teaching staff is not making the big bucks.

  2. Whats a teacher make ? anyone know?

  3. That is funny. I made it through public school and college without ever having a teacher’s aide in a single classroom. It doesn’t matter whether they make the “big bucks”. It matters whether it is necessary to spend the bucks for costs like this at all.

  4. For some classified students it is required by law.

    Sometimes having an aid means the difference between adding another class or keeping the large class with an aid.

    #3 you must have been an exceptional child to go through school without ever seeing an aid in the class. I can tell that you are proud of yourself.

    1. It has nothing to do with pride. The point is that there was no such thing as a teacher’s aide 30-40 years ago. If you were born in the 60s, you didn’t have an aides in your classes either. I guess the unions felt teachers were more competent back then and didn’t push for laws requiring aides. Special Ed situations are a different story.

    2. That is one of the problems. There are too many children being classified as Special Ed who probably shouldn’t be. It is costing us $ millions a year. The criteria for classification needs to be revisited.

  5. I went to rwd public schools from 1963 to 1976 no teachers aids at all even in special ed. The shame is there were classes that really needed it. Until orchard school was built we went to school in trailers on the playground at ridge school. I think there were trailers at sommerville or travell. Until they built glen or hawes not sure which.

    1. “Well, that’s the news from RIDGEWOOD, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”

  6. I was wondering, the headline say teachers aid cost’s money! Did you expect them to work for free?

  7. #8 I am not photogenic, my my wife real good lookin , , our children take after her ( thank god) but your comment show’s just what an arrogant douche bag you really are. Take your comment and go to counciling you really need it.

    1. You were called out for conceit. Bragging about the good old days as if wistful musings has anything to do with the budget.

      And watch your language. When I was young we were taught vocabulary so that we could debate as adults.

      #11. The parents don’t respect the teachers and they set the example for the kids.

  8. Never had teacher’s aides when I was in school either back in the ’60’s and ’70s in the Pascack Valley area. I believe the difference between then and now is that the teachers were more well respected by the students. If you got in trouble at school, you would certainly be in more trouble when you got home. Teachers can not teach and be charged with disciplining children also, the children need to learn how to respect authority at home. That said, teachers seem to have it much easier now. We had larger classes – up to 30 and most of us did just fine. I also remember teachers being very willing to stay an extra few minutes after school to help kids grasp concepts they struggled with unlike today. I’m not convinced today’s educators are quite as dedicated as many of the teachers I was luck enough to have. None of them made much money back then either – it was before the teachers union became so powerful and demanding.

    1. In the middle school and high school the teachers are availble after school for help.

      We now have tests for every school grade, to get out of high school and to get into college. The schools funding and reputation depend on the numbers. Maybe the cult of testing is to blame. And in the good old days kids with learning issues were allowed to drop out or pushed job training programs. Remember shop and typing?

  9. Never had a teachers aide, but back in the 70s in New York we were tracked. It’s easier to teach children that are all one level without special ed mainstreamed. That’s what drove the need for aides.

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