They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and nowhere was that clearer than in a recent Twitter/X response from Corey DeAngelis to American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
Using numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics along with other sources, the chart shows where the real growth has happened in the education system since the year 2000.
The growth is not really with the students, though they’ve increased by 8%, nor is it with the teachers, a group which also increased by 8%.
Instead, the growth in the education system appears top-heavy, with principals and assistant principals growing 37% in the last 20 years or so and administrative staff growing a whopping 88%!
That’s an amazing increase, and it brings the real problem with education today into sharper focus.
So often the guns get aimed at teachers—in complaints such as “they can’t control their classrooms,” or “they only teach to the test,” and “the education schools don’t train teachers well anymore”—or students—”they’re distracted and out of control.” While these sentiments may sometimes be true, this chart calls into question whether those complaints actually a deflection to draw attention away from the real problem.
Could it be that teacher salaries are stagnant because budgetary growth must cover the salaries of those in administration instead of those in the classroom trenches?
Could it be that our teachers are burned out because of the paperwork and other regulatory demands that come down from the administrative heads?
Is it possible that teachers must teach to the test—causing their students to miss out on the all-important topics of history and handwriting, geography and recess—all because the powers that be in the administrative wings of their schools demand data and tracking and results they can use to fill their files?
If even one of the answers to these questions is yes, then that signals it’s time to seek more school choice.
School choice—particularly through Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)—will put the reins of control back in the hands of the parents and teachers.
ESAs provide an education fund that travels with the student to a school that best fits his or her needs, enabling parents to send their children to schools that actually educate their children rather than making them a number or automaton to jump through the hoops of regulation established in the public education system.
Furthermore, ESAs provide teachers a way out of the soul-crushing regulatory reporting mess to which they are often subjected. With ESAs, good teachers will be able to establish their own small microschools, using good teaching skills—rather than just good reporting skills—to tutor and help students grow and develop.
The chart above makes it clear that our education system has become an administrative and regulatory behemoth. Why do our tax dollars need to keep funding such a monstrosity? If we really want to help students and teachers, then we need to offer more school choice in order to break these great minds free from this soul-crushing administrative state of education.
Image Credit: Pexels