School Staffing Growing Significantly Faster Than Enrollment, Friedman Foundation Finds

Kyle Olson

10/29/2012 12:01:00 AM - Kyle Olson

A new report by the Friedman Foundation shows hiring of administrative and support staff in government schools has grown seven times faster than student enrollment over the last several decades.

The group found:

“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 staff experienced growth of 702 percent, more than seven times the increase in students.”

Report author Benjamin Scafidi also noted, “Compared to other nations’ schools, U.S. public schools devote significantly higher fractions of their operating budgets to non-teaching personnel—and lower portions to teachers.”

Unsustainable jobs programs promoted by the federal government have contributed to the problem and politicians have been more interested in job statistics in government schools than actually evaluating what those individuals were accomplishing.

Regardless, Friedman’s analysis shows once again that government schools have a spending problem, not a funding problem.

U.S. News and World Report attempted to obtain comment from the National Education Association, which represents a large chunk of non-instructional employees. The union declined. The magazine noted that the NEA website states, “Support professionals are woefully underpaid, often barely able to afford to live in the communities where they serve.”

Translation: quit your inconvenient analysis and keep the jobs money flowing.