Before the school board, union leaders, legislators, parents and taxpayers crunch those school budget numbers they may want to read the latest from Mike Antonucci. Using figures from the latest NEA report called Rankings and Estimates he write:
NEA's tables clearly indicate that the reason so many states are having education funding problems -- and why the average teacher salary is not higher -- is not because of NCLB, cheapskate taxpayers, stingy administrators, or any of the other usual targets. It's because as a percentage of the whole, we're hiring more teachers -- many more teachers -- than we're enrolling students to support them.According to Mike's math Tennessee hired 1.6% new teachers for a .9% student increase. The question then is: is this unbalanced increase correcting overcrowding or, perhaps, staff that isn't really 'essential'?
In 2004-05, America enrolled 297,101 more students than in 2003-04. But it employed 49,732 more teachers. That's 1 teacher for every additional 6 students.
And let's not overlook this from the NEA report:
Teacher salaries, however, increased at a rate higher than inflation in nine states, giving teachers more money to cover their living expenses, support their families, pay for continuing education, and save for unexpected emergencies. Maryland, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Vermont, Virginia, Tennessee, New Mexico, Montana, and Oklahoma were among the states where increases in teacher salaries rose faster than the rate of inflation.Again, I'm all for paying excellent teachers well. They earn it. I'd just like to be able to verify that they really are excellent teachers before they get those excellent paychecks and benefits.
(Again, emphis mine--K)