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Too Many Teachers

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 14, 2012

Wall Street Journal on July 10 published an op-ed America Has Too Many Teachers by Andrew Coulson of the Cato Institute that concludes America has an excess of teachers.  In support of this conclusion Coulson points out that in the past 40 years the public school workforce has increased by 100%, from 3.3 million to 6.4 million.  During that same period student enrollment has only increased by 8.5%.  Coulson concludes this wastes about $200 billion annually.

Coulson also concludes that the increased spending has not resulted in improved education and quotes statistics from the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress reports.  He also debunks the argument that special ed programs have caused the workforce growth since these educators only make up about 5% of the workforce.

Organizations of all types have the natural inclination to self-perpetuate and grow.  Private companies that become bloated or grow beyond their means go out of business.  Such is not the case in the public sector where governments either have taxing authority and/or the ability to print money.  This reality removes any incentive of government organizations to create efficiencies.

Progressives, like President Obama, suggest that hiring more government workers including teachers is the solution to the lengthy economic downturn.  This claim is not only unsupported by economic data, but has proven to create inefficiencies and rob a country of its wealth.  If hiring government workers were the solution, Greece would be the wealthiest country in the world.  Instead, it is bankrupt.

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