1) 45,000 Fewer Students and 7,800
More Teachers. When Sen. Tom Harkin first
introduced the edujobs bill, several reform organizations
asked for the money to be tied to a change in layoff procedures. They
wanted to put an end to "last hired, first fired" seniority. The idea was to
save the jobs of effective new teachers instead of ineffective veteran
teachers. Supporters and opponents of the bill were alike in failing to
acknowledge one important fact.
Many of those new teachers should never
have been hired in the first place.
Each year the U.S. Census Bureau
publishes a comprehensive report on public school revenues and expenditures.
These figures, coupled with teacher workforce numbers from the National
Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data, supported by those from
the National Education Association's Rankings & Estimates, are the
EIA's annual district spending tables.
latest Census Bureau report provides details of the 2007-08 school year,
and it goes far in explaining why we have been experiencing large-scale
layoffs of public education employees since then.
In the 2007-08 school year, 48,396,076
students were enrolled in the U.S. K-12 public education system. That was a
decline of 45,397 students from the previous year. They were taught by
3,150,061 teachers (full-time equivalent). That was an increase of 7,859
teachers from the previous year.
Defenders of the current system are fond
of telling us that children are not widgets and public education is not a
business. And they are right. No business in America hires more employees
when it has fewer customers.
Twenty-seven states had fewer students
in 2008 than in 2007, but 15 of them hired more teachers. These states were
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas,
Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota,
Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
With more payroll chasing fewer
students, it's no surprise to discover that per-pupil spending rose a
healthy 6.1% in 2007-08, and the amount spent on employee salaries and
benefits increased 6.0%. The United States average for per-pupil spending
was $10,259 with 20 states spending more than $10,000 per student.
Hiring, enrollment and spending can
fluctuate from year-to-year, and it is often difficult for school
administrators to keep up. It is better to examine trends over a five-year
period, and I have constructed
a table of the 50 states that does so (I will eventually update figures
for each of America's more than 13,000 school districts).
From 2003 to 2008, student enrollment
increased a cumulative 1.6 percent, while the K-12 teacher workforce
increased 4 percent. Per-pupil spending increased almost 28 percent (9.5%
after correcting for inflation). Spending on education employee salaries and
benefits increased 26.4 percent (8.2% after correcting for inflation).
This is no mystery, nor is it ancient
history. The people denouncing today's devastating layoffs are the same
people who hired those teachers amid declining enrollment a mere two years
ago. Had a little fiscal restraint been practiced, all of this could have
2) NEA Reduces Media Fund Spending
for State Affiliates. A portion of each NEA
member's dues is applied to the national union's media fund. Some of it is
returned to state affiliates in the form of media grants, with the rest used
by NEA for its own media campaigns.
In 2009-10, 14 state affiliates received
a total of $1.8 million. They were:
Alabama - $123,000
Florida - $80,000
Illinois - $100,000
Iowa - $180,000
Kansas - $128,000
Maryland - $115,000
Michigan - $350,000
New York - $179,000
Ohio - $20,000
Oklahoma - $100,000
Pennsylvania - $70,000
Rhode Island - $127,500
South Dakota - $150,000
Tennessee - $75,000
For the coming school year, only four
state affiliates will receive a total of $725,000. They are:
Connecticut - $170,000
Michigan - $175,000
Nebraska - $205,000
West Virginia - $175,000
The national portion of NEA's media fund
helped pay for advertising related to the edujobs bill, as well as financial
support for the
Teacher Leaders Network and
3) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from July 13-19:
Relationship. David Obey, Union Fighter!
Unions and Democrats Both Straddle the Fence. And it isn't a comfortable
The Long Reach of Teachers' Unions. I team up with Education Next.
California Teachers Association Shifts $2 Million of Dues Money to PAC.
Two pockets. Same pair of pants.
Irreconcilable Differences on Student Testing. No wiggle room.
Quote of the Week.
"You can look back at the president as a
candidate speaking before the unions making it clear about his support for
charter schools, his support for things like performance pay. It was not a
closeted agenda. And for people to act right now like they feel betrayed by
this president only suggests that they were not paying attention when he was
speaking." - Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education
Reform. (July 7 National Public Radio's
All Things Considered)