Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
For decades America’s K-12 public schools have never had to worry about unemployment. A new report shows a trend in our schools of overstaffing. Hiring of non-teaching positions has grown much faster than student enrollment.
Here are some key finds of the Friedman Foundation report:
· 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.
· Between FY 1992 and FY 2009, the number of K-12 public school students nationwide grew 17 percent while the number of full-time equivalent school employees increased 39 percent, 2.3 times greater than the increase in students over that 18-year period. Among school personnel, teachers’ staffing numbers rose 32 percent while administrators and other staff experienced growth of 46 percent; the growth in the number of administrators and other staff was 2.7 times that of students.
· 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. Meanwhile, the U.S. is one of the highest spending nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) when it comes to K-12 education.
· Even when student populations were dropping, public school systems were increasing staffing between 1992 and 2009.
· There is no evidence in the aggregate that the increase in public school staffing caused student achievement to improve.
· After the sizeable increase in the teaching force and the dramatic upsurge in the hiring of non-teaching personnel, student achievement in American public schools has been roughly flat or modestly in decline.
· 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.
Using data from the US Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the Digest of Education Statistics from both 1994 and 2010, the report also analyzed growth in each state.
In Wisconsin from Fiscal Year 1992 to Fiscal Year 2009, the growth in students was 7%, the growth in total school personnel was 21%, the growth in teachers was 14%, and the growth in administrators and other staff was 30%.
The issue is not whether there is a lack of funding for K-12 schools. Rather, the issue is that they spend too much.