Reverse the alarming spending growth rate
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. – Part 3 of a Series
Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – Over the past decade public education spending across the nation, including here in Texas, has increased dramatically. The costs are rising faster than the taxpayer can fund them. In Texas there has been a 63% increase. Why has there been such a large increase in spending, while student performance has declined?
For certain the money is not going toward instructional costs. The Texas Education Agency reports that total expenditures per pupil are $11,567 with only $4,972 going toward instructional costs.
Where is the money going?
To pay the salaries of large numbers of non-teaching personnel.
From 1998-99 to 2008-09 the number of teachers in Texas rose from 256,276 to 325,809, a 27.1% increase, while during the same period the number of administrators rose from 18,531 to 25,130, a 35.6% increase.
The teacher to non-teacher ratio is 1.019!
Has all of this extra help from non-teaching personnel provided an uptick in academic improvement to justify the cost?
To the contrary.
We have seen a decline in results. The average Texas SAT score has continued to drop: 992 in 1998-1999, 989 in 1999-2000, and 985 in 2009-2010.
Why are there so many ancillary members with numerous curriculum directors? Why are there so many administrators?
It appears that our educators consider spending taxpayer money on well-paid non-teaching staff to be more vital than spending money to retain new well-trained teachers who often leave after five years for better jobs and work environments.
The elimination of these layers of non-teaching bureaucracy must be a very high priority in getting our education finances in order.
Far too much money and time are being spent on public education with little “return on our taxpayer investment” dollars. As student scores slide southward and violence and disrespect continue to grow at alarming rates in our schools, we cannot expect voters to continue shaking the money tree.
Voters across America have already sent the message that we want less government, less spending, and a return to the ways that made us a great nation.
That message also applies to state and local governments and how our money is used for education.
Public school administrators must take the leadership in returning to the simple, time proven ways of imparting knowledge and stop trying out every newfangled idea that consultants, elitists, and “reformers” want to test next to justify their existence and fat salaries.
If educators are unwilling to listen to the taxpayers about less spending and improving student performance, they are going to face loss of their positions as Americans seek other options that will provide a better education for our children—at a far less cost.