Heritage expert Lindsay Burke and Kennesaw State University Benjamin Scafidi use data from Washington, DC schools to explain in the Daily Signal that a large reason for the rising cost of public education is increased hiring of administrative staff:
Since 1950, public schools all across America have added staff at a rapid rate—much faster than their increases in students.
According to data that the District of Columbia Public Schools submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, the District’s public schools experienced a 3.1 percent decline in its student population between the 1993-94 and 2013-14 school years. Despite this decline in students, D.C. Public Schools increased its staffing by 7.7 percent (all increases are in full-time equivalents).
The long-term bloat of public school staff in the District of Columbia shows that parents across the country need innovative and more effective ways to control education spending for their children, instead of letting the school district continue to fritter it away with hiring non-lead-teachers. As researcher Matthew Ladner has documented, those students who choose to attend private school instead of the struggling public schools in D.C. get far less money to spend on their education:
Burke and Scafidi recommend the adoption of education savings accounts–which fund the child, not the school system–as an alternative to traditional public school financing:
Through this option, parents would receive a portion of the funds spent on their child in the traditional public school system, and could then use those funds to pay for a variety of education-related services, products, and providers, including private school tuition, online learning, special education services and therapies, textbooks, and host of other products.
Do you believe the growth in public school staffing is justified? Do you think Education Savings Accounts are the solution?