Carol Forsloff — Despite the “No child left behind” and other carrots for kids to learn, the nation’s school children continue to do poorly on tests across the country. According to research, attitude issues on the part of learners is one reason for these failures, but another issue in dragging down the educational needs is the massive increase in school administrators and support personnel. So who is thriving in education and why?
While student numbers have increased by 96%, according to a recent research report, school personnel has increased 386%, or four times the rate of increase of school enrollment. School staffing increased by 702%, teachers by 252% of the school personnel increase. These are the figures since 1950. But let’s look at the specifics of recent years.
These education facts are reported Heritage Foundation Backgrounder, Lindsey Burke (2012) and tells us ” that since 1970, the number of students in American public schools increased by 8 percent while the number of teachers increased 60 percent and the number of non-teaching personnel increased 138 percent.”
So as the nation’s school children continue to reflect high numbers of young people with relatively low achievement scores and school dropout rate continues to be a problem, according to the Heritage Foundation, most of the money substantially goes to non teaching personnel.
According to the author of the 2012 study this has little or nothing to do with the No Child Left Behind policy. Even those states where student population has actually decreased percentage wise, school personnel percentages have actually increased.
The study further points out “If non-teaching personnel had grown at the same rate as the growth in students and if the teaching force had grown “only” 1.5 times as fast as the growth in students, American public schools would have an additional $37.2 billion to spend per year.” This, researchers point out, could save $37.2 billion annually and could be used for early childhood education, raising teachers salaries and reducing the overall cost of education or giving poor children vouchers to attend better schools.
The United States school staffing is considerably higher than most nations of the world, but is it necessarily true that schools are achieving little success for students academically. In other words, are schools really failing, and is there evidence that United States education is actually worth the cost?
The American Spectator disagrees that education has been failing the nation’s school children. The publication points to a reduced dropout rate and the benefits of public education, maintaining that staffing is actually small in relationship to school needs and mostly used for special programs. The publication, however, provides no statistical evidence to support its claims.
It’s interesting to note the Heritage Foundation is considered a conservative think tank, supporting alternative and private schools and options using school vouchers. The American Spectator supports public education.