Thursday, July 16, 2015

Kentucky School Staffing (National Comparisons)

In the fall of 2012, Kentucky enrolled 1.38 percent of all students enrolled in public schools nationwide in pre-kindergarten through grade 12.

Our share of public school staff was at or below that 1.38 percent level in three categories, with Kentucky having:
  • 1.02 percent of student support staff nationwide
  • 1.21 percent of administrative support staff
  • 1.36 percent of officials and administrators
  • 1.38 percent of teachers
Our share of public school staff was above the nationwide level in the other categories, including:
  • 1.46 percent of guidance counselors
  • 1.48 percent of Instruction coordinators
  • 1.87 percent of Instructional aides
  • 1.94 percent of principals and assistant principals
  • 2.09 percent of school and library support staff
  • 2.10 percent of other support services staff
  • 2.33 percent of librarians
If instead, Kentucky schools and districts had consistently had 1.38 percent of each kind of staff, we would have had:
  • 1,021 additional student support staff members
  • 325 additional administrative support staff
  • 136 more teachers
  • 10 more officials and administrators
  • 7 fewer guidance counselors
  • 69 fewer instruction coordinators
  • 443 fewer librarians
  • 955 fewer principals and assistant principals
  • 2,028 fewer school and library support staff
  • 3,560 fewer instructional aides
  • 8,225 fewer other support services staff
Back in March 2009, I posted a similar analysis using Fall 2005 data. As I wrote then:
I’m not arguing that Kentucky should staff schools to those averages. There may be important benefits to what we do differently, and our students may have different needs. I do think, though, that this is an interesting mirror to look in, inviting us to think about how we currently staff public education.
Coming back to this analysis this time, I still see that issue, and I have these added thoughts:
  • We have 1,087 librarians spread over more than 1,200 schools. That may be the starting example of where our added commitment is a good idea, especially as we ask students to go deeper on research, designing their own investigations, and learning through major projects. 
  • We’re now asking our principals to do sustained observations and give thoughtful feedback for every teacher: for that big growth in responsibility, our added numbers may again be just right.
  • Other support staff seem likely to include food workers, custodial workers, and bus drivers. In other states, that work is often handled by contracting companies, and it's possible that Kentucky isn't so much engaging more workers as engaging them in  a way that shows up under staff rather than service fees.
  • I'd love to know what other states are doing (and Kentucky apparently isn't) in student support services!
Source note: the data for this analysis comes from the Digest of Education Statistics, using tables 203.40 and 213.20 The staff analysis is based on full-time equivalent positions.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!