The battle over the budget cuts to Texas’ education system was one of the most heated and emotional battles this session. It garnered some of the largest protests and produced some of the fiercest debates. The Democrats saw these cuts as “attacking teachers” and failing students. However, Republicans charged that school districts will have the funds to continue to hire teachers, but the non-teaching staff will need to be thinned out. Crazy idea, right?
Forty years ago the ratio of teachers to non-teachers was 5:1, but since then ratio has become an astonishing 1:1. So instead of trying reduce the teacher to student ratio over the past four decades, Texas’ independent school districts have been concentrating on reducing the teacher to non-teacher ratio. This just means more and more of our tax dollars have been taken out of the classroom to fund bloated superintendent salaries, high paid public relations specialist, $15/hr crossing guards and unneeded administrators.
You would think that independent school districts would have taken a step back after the massive budget cuts and asked themselves, “What’s more important? Hiring more teachers and funding classroom activities or hiring more non-teaching staff?” We all know the right answer, but school districts like Austin ISD sure don’t. They currently have nearly 300 job openings and 58% of those openings are for non-teaching positions. Maybe the teaching positions have just filled up faster you may ask. It’s possible, but the amount of non-teachers that are still being hired in the face of laid off teachers is simply eye opening.
The continued hiring spree of administrators shows us that the priority of school districts has changed significantly. Teaching and non-teaching staff are now seen as one in the same and funding classroom activities is no longer the main priority.