Prioritizing Teachers

Teachers should be the core of the educational system, yet they currently account for barely half of all public school system employees:

To put these figures into perspective, Texas school districts have one employee for every 7.3 students, and one classroom teacher for every 14.5 students. Both of these figure stand in stark contrast to the 22:1 teacher/student ratio that is mandated for all classes in kindergarten through to the fourth grade.

In addition, the Legislative Budget Board reports that, among the 15 most-populous states, Texas has the highest per capita number of state and local government employees in elementary and secondary schools.

Texas has 273 school employees per 10,000 population, while California has just 193, Florida just 184, and New York 252.

The size and cost of administration and support functions in Texas’ public education system should be reduced so that more resources can be directed to teachers.

Administrative spending, no matter how important to the management and operation of a school, diverts resources from classroom instruction. The organization of Texas’ public education system, with more than 1,200 school districts and 8,300 separate campuses creates unnecessary levels of bureaucracy that must be reduced in order to raise teacher pay.

It is worth noting that if the Texas public education system were a private company, it would be the fifth largest in the world by employee count. This is illustrated in the following table, which shows where the Texas public school system would fall in a list of the largest private employers in the world as compiled by Fortune magazine.

It is also worth noting specifically that Texas’ public education system also has more employees than many of America’s largest corporations, including I.B.M., McDonalds, Target, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, and AT&T.