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Review Finds Key Omissions in School Staffing Report

East Lansing, Mich. — A recent report from EdChoice, formerly the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, concluded that non-teaching staffing growth in schools after the Great Recession has outpaced enrollment growth and student performance. The report recommended increasing teacher pay, at the expense of non-teaching staff, and more school choice. An academic review released today finds that the report presents no logical relationship between the staffing trends presented and the solutions proposed in the report.

The report, Back to the Staffing Surge: The Great Teacher Salary Stagnation and the Decades-Long Employment Growth in American Schools, was reviewed for the Think Twice think tank project by Joydeep Roy, Columbia University, and William J. Mathis, University of Colorado Boulder. Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), is funded by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

Roy and Mathis in their review note that while the report does use data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “the report’s discussion of inputs, outcomes, and policy approaches is poorly grounded, leading to unsupported conclusions and policy prescriptions.” The reviewers identify that the primary shortcoming of the report is its failure to examine why there has been a staffing surge and whether it reflects a valid use of personnel.

In their conclusion, they also find that there is no linkage between the report’s call for more school choice and vouchers to remedy “over-staffing” or better education. In response, the reviewers provide an appendix list of recent evidence on voucher and charter school performance.

Find the review on the GLC website: www.greatlakescenter.org

Find the EdChoice report at: www.edchoice.org/research/back-staffing-surge/

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