Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Flawed Report Fails to Illuminate School Staffing Trends
EdChoice recently released a report documenting two staffing trends in public schools. After a temporary pause during the Great Recession, school staffing in the U.S. resumed an upward trajectory, with hiring tilted toward non-teaching personnel compared to teachers.
Joydeep Roy of Columbia University and William J. Mathis of the University of Colorado Boulder reviewed Back to the Staffing Surge: The Great Teacher Salary Stagnation and the Decades-Long Employment Growth in American Public Schools.
Find the review by Joydeep Roy and William J. Mathis at:
The report concludes that staffing growth outpaces enrollment growth and that there has been no corresponding increase in student performance. While the data on staffing trends are obtained from reliable NCES publications, the report’s discussion of inputs and outcomes is poorly grounded, lacking an adequate understanding and appreciation of the diverse roles that non-teachers play in our nation’s schools. It also refrains from applying the same analysis to private schools, leading to unsupported conclusions and policy prescriptions.
Roy and Mathis also note that the report fails to examine why there has been a staffing surge or whether it reflects a valid use of personnel. It evaluates the effectiveness of school staffing changes using concurrent achievement and finance measures, even though any benefits of staffing increases will be lagged and only show up gradually over time. Moreover, the report fails to acknowledge that educational outcomes have steadily improved.
The report also provides insufficient support for its two recommendations: increasing teacher pay, at the expense of other instructional and non-instructional staff, and school choice.
As a result, the reviewers conclude, the report is devoid of any important policy implications.