Teach reforms range from the structural to the financial and in many cases, they are minor changes. Real structural reform not only focuses on teachers, but also on other school employees as well. In today’s Slate article about principal reforms, Dana Goldstein wants us to focus away from teachers and onto the role of the principal:
If the job of being a principal in a high-poverty school were less about feeding paperwork into accountability systems and more about teaching teachers how children learn, better educators would become principals, and would, in turn, help attract our best teachers to the kids who need them most. The United States must launch a principal-quality movement as robust as our teacher-quality movement has been. Only then will we begin to realize the potential of great instruction to fight inequality.
Structural reforms look at the whole picture and realize how much bigger the reform is when adjusting for all administrative staff.
According to the Friedman Foundation’s “The School Staffing Surge” (2012):
- Between fiscal year (FY) 1950 and FY 2009, the number of K-12 public school students in the United States increased by 96 percent while the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) school employees grew 386 percent.
- Of those personnel, teachers’ numbers increased 252 percent while administrators and other staff experienced growth of 702 percent, more than seven times the increase in students.
- If non-teaching personnel had grown at the same rate as the growth in students and if the teaching force had grown “only” 1.5 times as fast as the growth in students, American public schools would have an additional $37.2 billion to spend per year.