Bloated, Costly Public School Administrations
A previous post documented the 10X increase in the real cost per public school student from 1929-2007. Why has the cost of public education increased so much in real terms?
One important factor is the increase in the number of public school employees in relation to student enrollment. From the Cato Institute report "Saving Money and Improving Education":
"As shown in the graph above (click to enlarge), student enrollment in public schools grew by 13% between 1979 and 2000. During the same period the total number of school employees grew by 61%, and the number of teachers grew by 35%. Nationally, public schools now have about 1 employee for every 8.1 students, and teachers make up only 40% of total school employees."
From my article "The Educational Octopus":
Consider the following cases of bloated, costly public school administration.
1. The Chicago Board of Education, which has 3,300 employees, is larger than the entire Japanese Ministry of Education.
2. The New York City public schools system has 250 times as many administrators as the New York Catholic school system (6,000 administrators in public school system versus 24 in Catholic school system), even though New York public schools have only four times as many students as the Catholic schools.
3. Administrative costs have exploded since World War II as the number of school districts has declined, from over 100,000 districts in 1945 to fewer than 16,000 in 1980. As school districts have consolidated and grown in size, they have become increasingly bloated--more top-heavy, more bureaucratic, more centralized, less efficient--and more costly to administer.