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Despite 3X Education Spending, a Small Portion Actually Goes to the People Teaching Our Kids

One of the most common political ideas is that more money needs to be spent on education and any pushback against this is typically identified as either anti-education or anti-child.

But does spending more money on education work? This graph shows that while education spending has increased dramatically, it’s not actually working:

140407-student-spending-010

Where has the money gone?

A new study from the Fordham Institute, an education-based think tank, has some potential answers:

  1. Non-teachers make up half the public school labor force, a significant change from the past.
  2. Growth of non-teaching staff has exceeded teacher growth by 61%.
  3. Teachers as a percentage of overall school staffing has dropped by 13%.
  4. Among all the countries in the OECD, which represents much of the planet, only Denmark spends more for non-teacher workers.

The reasons for this stunning growth in non-teaching staff is a discussion for another time, but the conclusions are quite clear. A tremendous amount of money has been spent on education, with student-results having changed very little, and a substantial amount of that is not going to teachers.

Administrative and support staff, as essential as they may be, aren’t the ones teaching the children. And teaching children is what education is all about. Perhaps it’s time for the financial priorities to change.


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