SURPRISE: Gov Perry flat-out wrong about admin-teacher ratio!

Posted on May 15, 2011


Once again, a conservative politician has perpetuated the mis-truth about the ratio of administrators to teachers and the “huge” number of non-teachers we have hired over the last decades (see Conservative groups have consistently perpetuated these incorrect data as a way to garner public support for cutting education–especially cutting central office positions. In fact, Republican Senators and the Governor have implied that no teachers should lose their jobs as a result of budget cuts since the “huge” increase in non-teachers–especially administrators–leaves plenty of non-teaching positions available to cut in order to solve the budget deficit perpetrated on districts by bad decision-making by the Governor and legislature back in 2006.

Let’s look at the REAL data. I know this is a novel idea for some people, but using the REAL data might lead to actual REAL policy solutions rather than those driven solely by ideology. As shown in Figure 1, the percentage of teachers has remained fairly constant over the last 20 years. The percentage of employees that are teachers has decreased a whopping TWO percentage points. Not a seismic shift in employment by any stretch of the imagination.

FIGURE 1: Percentage of Public Education

Employees by Role

Below is a more detailed look at the percentage of all staff by role code. Administrators add up to a staggering 3.9% of all employees. A far cry from the 50% of employees who are teachers. Perhaps Governor Perry needs to take a TAKS remediation course? Even if you consider support staff to be administrators–and most are clearly not administrators as I have shown in previous posts–the percentage of administrators would be 13.%. Again, a far cry from 50%.

The only way the Governor could be right is if he considers bus drivers, data analysts, custodians, and security personnel to be administrators. I suspect if we counted all those positions as “managers” in the Governor’s Office, we would find that far greater than 50% of the Governor’s staff would be managers.

The Governor also stated, “In Texas now, we’ve hired a huge number of non teachers into our public schools. Administrators, etc. ” (see

Well, it depends on how you define huge. I think most people would agree that we have hired a huge number of educators in general to (1) keep up with enrollment growth and (2) keep up with the high attrition rate of educators in Texas.

As shown in Figure 3, there has been a HUGE increase in the number of teachers hired. Not so much for administrators, although there has been a pretty large increase in auxiliary staff.The changes from 1991 to 2011 are shown in more detail in Figure 4. S0, over the last 20 years, we hired slightly more than 15 teachers for every one administrator hired. Most of the increase in administrators was because we increased the number of schools dramatically. Even if we include support staff as administrators, we still hired 2.67 teachers per “administrator + support staff.”

Now, if compare teachers to non-teachers, we hired about 129,300 teachers and 145,400 non-teachers. Most of the non-teacher increase was auxiliary staff (increase of over 65,000). So, perhaps we hired a “huge” number of non-teachers, but we hired a “huge” number of teachers as well.

Why has there been a huge increase in all staff? Well, adding over 70,000 children into the system every year requires a huge number of additional staff, especially when an increasing percentage of students are poor, speak a language other than English, or have special needs. Further, we now have thousands of central office staff who must report data to TEA and process, analyze, and distribute data to schools. We also have a larger number of teacher support personnel as a response to the massive increase of under-prepared teachers flooding into the schools from private alternative certification programs (such teachers don;t even have to have a MINOR in their subject area and often receive no experience actually watching teachers instruct students or practicing instruction in a real classroom before they start teacher).

Most of the people hired actually directly Below is a graph from that post that shows the percentage of staff who directly impact students has not changed over the past 20 years (see for the details of that post).

Face it–these incorrect statements are very likely INTENTIONAL on the part of those who would like to destroy public education. These statements are NOT accidents. Plenty of organizations have documented the true ratio and plenty of newspaper articles have been written about it.  There is no excuse for any politician to perpetuate incorrect statements to further their own political desires at the expense of children. Thus, either intentional, or they cannot read a chart or a graph.
Voters deserve to hear the truth from their elected representatives and leaders. What we have now is a consortium of conservative groups led by the Texas Public Policy Foundation working on concert with some (not all) conservative politicians to intentionally mislead the populace in order to implement their own ideologically driven view of how the state should work.

I am not saying they do not have a right to have their own viewpoint and perspective–everyone has that right in a democracy. But we all have a moral imperative to tell the truth and not lie to voters and some politicians and groups have traded in their moral compass for power. And that is when our democracy is threatened.

See some clearly incorrect statements thrown out about educator employment by the Governor and others:

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