School Staffing Report Offers Little Value
EAST LANSING, Mich. (Dec. 4, 2012) – Between 1992 and 2009, the number of school employees grew at more than twice the rate that the population of students increased, a recent report found. Author Benjamin Scafidi and the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, which published the report, used the finding to argue for expanding school choice, including private school vouchers.
But a new review finds that the report is based on faulty premises, lacks any analysis of why school staffing has grown, and promotes choice without offering any evidence that it would have altered the trend.
Joydeep Roy, a visiting professor at Teachers College – Columbia University and a senior economist for the New York City Independent Budget Office, prepared the review for the National Education Policy Center with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Roy points out that the report lacks any exploration of the causes and consequences of faster employment growth. Roy observes: "Unless we know the duties and responsibilities of the new employees, any assertion about the effects of hiring them is merely speculative."
The report lacks any evidence to support the contention that school choice would have changed the trend of employment growth. The record of school choice policies in improving outcomes or efficiency is much more mixed than the report would have us believe. The report's promotion of these policies as a way to hold down employment growth is particularly questionable, "given that private schools have smaller class sizes and charter schools appear to spend a substantially greater portion on administrative costs – two of the main policies attacked in the report."
Find the Think Twice Review on the Great Lakes Center website:
Find The School Staffing Surge by Benjamin Scafidi on the web:
Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policy makers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
This review is also found on the NEPC website:
The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.
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