1) 60,000 New Students and 20,000 New
Teachers: Results from the Census Bureau School Finances Report.
Each year the U.S. Census Bureau publishes a comprehensive report on public
school revenues and expenditures. Figures for each of the nation's more than
14,000 school districts and local education agencies are available for
dissection and digestion. The release of the latest report,
Public Education Finances: 2007, was delayed for several months, but
it turned out to be well worth the wait.
I will ultimately compile tables
consisting of student enrollment, number of full-time equivalent K-12
teachers, per-pupil spending, amount per-pupil spent on employee
compensation, and the changes in all those figures over the last five years,
for every public school district in America. This, as you might imagine,
will take some time, but putting together a state-level table of those
statistics was quick work. I have
posted the table on the EIA web site.
In the 2006-07 school year 48,441,473
students were taught by 3,142,202 full-time equivalent teachers (the NEA
estimate for that year comes to 3,174,354 actual warm bodies). That was an
increase of 2.7% and 5%, respectively, from the 2001-02 school year. But if
compare the numbers from the previous year, you get a better sense of
where we're headed and why the current teacher layoffs are an inevitable
result of years of profligate hiring.
The entire United States public school
system enrolled only 60,966 more students in 2006-07, yet it hired 20,564
more teachers. Twenty-six states showed a decline in student enrollment, but
only 14 had fewer teachers than the year before.
With more payroll chasing a flattening
number of students, it's no surprise to discover that per-pupil spending
rose a healthy 5.8% in 2006-07, and the amount spent on employee salaries
and benefits increased 5.9%. The nation's public school employee
compensation bill came to $382.5 billion.
The United States average for per-pupil
spending was $9,666 and 16 states spent more than $10,000 per student. It
bears mentioning that while the California Teachers Association spent much
of the year complaining the state was
ranked 47th in education spending, the Census Bureau figures show
California ranked 22nd, at $9,152. That was a 7.8% increase from the
The district-level numbers are sure to
provide more fascinating numbers, but I've already discovered something that
leaves me speechless: In 2006-07 it would have been cheaper to take the
4,257 students in the Asbury Park and Hoboken City school districts in New
Jersey and enroll them all in
2) Under the Radar.
These three stories deserve a little more attention:
* Stephen Sawchuk of
Teacher Beat demonstrates why data examination is important – not for
teachers and student achievement in this case, but to evaluate the famed
Toledo peer review program.
* A rare bit of good news for the
Indiana State Teachers Association – a
federal judge tossed a class action lawsuit alleging the union conspired
with MetLife "to rig retirement options in the insurer's favor."
* The California Teachers Association
holds an annual summer institute for political activists and this year put
together a media panel consisting of reporters and editors from Los Angeles
area TV, radio and print. It's not unusual for journalists to participate in
such panels, but everyone, including the panelists, should be aware of
how CTA promoted it:
"Los Angeles-area newspaper, TV and
radio reporters and editors will share their tips for getting your chapter
stories, rallies, protests, cutback news conferences and contract fights
"Here's your chance to share your
stories and concerns, as well as to build relationships with reporters who
are looking for sources to tell education's story."
3) Contract Hits.
Wherein we highlight a contract provision from the current agreement between
the National Education Association and its largest staff union. This is
Article 23, Part D, Section 1, subsection (a):
"NEA shall give all due consideration to
requests for transfer for either physical and/or mental health of
4) Last Week's Intercepts. EIA's blog,
Intercepts, covered these topics from August 3-10:
NEA Bailout Equals $50 Per Member of Indiana Affiliate. Evidently this
wasn't worth telling the NEA convention delegates about.
Data Link Stink Mounting in California. Will the CTA tail wag the NEA
Detroit Takes Cradle to Grave Health Care One Step Further. Here's a
shot of some
Detroit Public Schools employees heading to see their preferred provider.
Three to Scrutinize. The best of the rest.
Stay Tuned. What's up.
Quote of the Week.
"When you have senators and everyone else attacking public education, the
public goes with the attack and teachers feel the frustration and lack of
respect. Therefore without the incentive to stay in the classroom of a pay
increase or seeing the support there in the public with our politicians,
they just opt to retire. And teaching is a difficult job under the best of
circumstances, and when you face constant criticism and attacks, it makes it
that much more difficult." – West Virginia Education Association President
Dale Lee. Last year at this time, about 860 teachers (out of 24,000) had
announced plans to retire. This year, it's "about 100 more." (August 6
Charleston Daily Mail)