URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/cr3ru3n
BOULDER, CO (December 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.
The School Staffing Surge was reviewed for the Think Twice think tank review project by Joydeep Roy, visiting professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and senior economist in the Independent Budget Office of New York City. The review was published today by the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education.
The first flaw Roy identifies in The School Staffing Surge is its assertion that, as the number of full-time equivalent school employees grew 2.3 times faster than the increase in students over the 1992-2009 period, there has been no progress on test scores or drop-out reductions.
In fact, Roy notes, “achievement scores and drop-out rates have actually improved,” a fact that the report never acknowledges.
Second, 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.”
Finally, Roy explains that 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 Joydeep Roy’s review on the NEPC website at:
Find The School Staffing Surge by Benjamin Scafidi on the web at:
The Think Twice think tank review project (http://thinktankreview.org) of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) provides the public, policy makers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC is housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. The Think Twice think tank review project is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
The mission of the National Education Policy Center is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence. For more information on the NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/.
This review is also found on the GLC website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/