Click to expand graphic
NEA – the parent group of the largest teachers association in North Carolina, the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) – has a graphic showing how school employment has not kept pace with enrollment growth (See above. Click to expand graphic). It’s a bit misleading.
This is a good example of what’s called “cherry picking”; select the data you want and leave out data that doesn’t support your predetermined conclusion. NEA fails to note that the 2004-2008 period is the tail end of a decades long expansion in education staffing..
Benjamin Scafidi of the Friedman Foundation wrote extensively about this in the The School Staffing Surge. Scafidi notes that between 1950 and 2009 the number of K-12 public school students in the United States increased 96 percent while the number of full-time equivalent school employees grew by 386 percent.
Over a longer period of time, the trend is even more pronounced. Nationally,since 1950 the number of administrative positions at K-12 schools increased by 700 percent, seven times faster than the growth of student enrollment.
These same trends impacted North Carolina. Scafidi notes over the period 1992 to 2009, the number of students increased 36 percent while the number of non-teaching administrative staff increased 61 percent.
All this is to say that during seventies, eighties and nineties there was a strong build up in non-teaching positions. When the recession hit in 2009, the majority of personnel who lost their positions were non-certified staff. Non-certified staff positions have declined 20 percent from their pre-recession levels, while the number of teachers have declined about 5 percent over the same time period.
I know it’s hard to keep all the numbers in your head. Just ask yourself one question: Did the staffing surge lead to a commensurate improvement in student achievement?