• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Non-Teaching School Staff Costing Taxpayers Money

    Eric Engman/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom

    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.”

    Posted in Education, Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.