Schools have more teachers, fewer students
Schools are adding teachers while enrolling fewer students, writes Chad Aldeman, policy director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University, on The 74. He crunches data released by the National Center for Education Statistics on school staffing in the 2021-22 academic year.
The number of students (red) fell in the first full year of the pandemic nationwide, and has not recovered, writes Aldeman. "In total, public school enrollment fell 2.6 percent from 2018-19, while schools employed 1.1 percent more teachers (green).
"In addition to more teachers, schools now employ more student support staff, a category that includes attendance officers and providers of health, speech pathology, audiology or social services," he writes. "The number of school administrative support staff, guidance counselors, district administrators and school psychologists are also all above pre-pandemic levels."
However, schools cut down on aides and "other" support staff, which includes maintenance workers, bus drivers, security guards and food service workers.
The loss of support staff "may be a big reason why teachers are reporting higher workloads and anxiety, and why they’ve been asked to fill in on other non-teaching tasks," writes Aldeman, who remains dubious about "a mass teacher exodus or a nationwide teacher shortage."