With few exceptions, the number of staff in schools is growing, but most of them are not teachers.
According to a report published last week by the Fordham Institute, the number of non-teaching personnel in schools has increased over the last half century at a rate that outpaces even the growth of teachers and students.
Rachel Morello / StateImpact Indiana
The number of teachers' aides on public school staffs has increased by 130 percent since the year 1970.
Since 1970, the total number of employees in the nation’s schools grew from 3.4 million to 6.2 million, an 84 percent increase. During that same period, the student population grew only by about 8 percent. In other words, for every four children added to American schools, districts hired three adults.
The number of teachers added has steadily increased, but what comes as a surprise to many is that non-teaching personnel have accounted for the majority of the growth on staffs. This group increased in size by more than 130 percent, and they now make up close to half of the average public school district’s workforce, counting about 3 million nationwide.
State superintendent Glenda Ritz speaks to early educators Tuesday at Ivy Tech in Bloomington.
State superintendent Glenda Ritz says Indiana will apply for a federal grant that would help establish infrastructure to create high quality preschool for all children throughout the state. Ritz spoke about the grant opportunity Tuesday during her opening remarks at the Indiana Department of Education sponsored Early Learning Summit, which gathered early educators and IDOE staff to look at the major issues facing those who teach children from birth to third grade.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced the grant Ritz is talking about, which would provide $250 million to selected states. In a statement released last week, the USED describes how this grant is for states like Indiana with no universal preschool infrastructure in place:
The goal of Preschool Development Grants is to support states – including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – in building, developing and expanding voluntary, high-quality preschool programs in high-need communities for children from low- and moderate-income families. The new grant program will be jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.
A turnaround operator has run Theodore Roosevelt College & Career Academy in Gary since the state intervened in 2012. Many schools in Gary are at risk of this.
A member of the Indiana Department of Education staff will spend the year in Gary working with Gary Community Schools, which is labeled as “high risk” because of consistently low ISTEP+ scores the last few years.
Daniel Brundidge, a member of the IDOE’s Outreach Division of School Improvement staff, will serve as the liasion between the Gary Community School Corp. and the IDOE.
The IDOE said in a statement released last week that Brundidge “will be based on site and work alongside Gary Community Schools staff to oversee the implementation of federally funded programs while also serving as the chief liaison between the Department and Gary.” The statement went on to say the department hopes the partnership “will improve collaboration between the Department and Gary, while also focusing on the turnaround principles of effective leadership, school climate and culture, and effective instruction.”
Brundidge will work full time with the school corporation over the next school year.
Indiana applied for an extension to its No Child Left Behind waiver at the end of June.
The U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday No Child Left Behind waiver renewals for five states, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi North Carolina and Wisconsin, but Indiana is still waiting to hear about the fate of its waiver.
The U.S. Department of Education wrote in a statement Thursday:
In order to receive an extension, states must demonstrate that they have resolved any state-specific issues and next steps as a result of the Department’s monitoring, as well as any other outstanding issues related to ESEA flexibility. States could also request additional amendments to support their continuous improvement efforts.
This school year holds a lot of changes for Indiana teachers: new standards, an unknown assessment, and uncertainty regarding the state’s No Child Left Behind waiver to name a few. StateImpact Indiana’s Claire McInerny talked with national standards consultant Schauna Findlay Relue to get some tips for teachers. Below is an illustrated version of those tips. Share your own tips you’ve discovered through professional development this summer or the first few weeks of the school year in the comments below.
Teachers around the state are trying to adjust to new standards and anticipate the unknown assessment students will take this spring.
The saga of education policy in Indiana has waged in both the statehouse and the classroom the last few years. Academic standards, the No Child Left Behind waiver, and the state assessment have all become points of contention, and this fall all of these changes are coming to a head for teachers and students.
Many Indiana teachers skipped summer vacation this year to re-evaluate lessons created for Common Core standards, and try to anticipate what the new assessment will ask of students.
Navigating The Unknown
Tami Geltmaker, an administrator in the Crawford County School Corporation, is one of those teachers and says she is facing more changes this year than any of her previous 31 years as an educator.
In July, Geltmaker joined dozens of school administrators from Southern Indiana for a professional development session in Huntingburg. She said she was looking for tips to help her prepare lessons around the state’s new academic standards and the new assessment students will take this spring.
Indiana’s first statewide report on bullying found more than 9,400 incidents at state public schools last year.
Indiana's state public schools reported more than 9,400 bullying incidents last year.
Data collected by the Indiana Department of Education shows 44 percent of cases reported during the 2013-14 academic year were verbal and 21 percent physical. The rest involved written or electronic threats, as well as social relational issues.
Emma Donnan School, a takeover school operated by Charter Schools USA in Indianapolis, reported the most incidents at 128.
Eric Weddle of the Indianapolis Star reports that close to one-quarter of the 1,000 individual schools surveyed reported no bullying incidents:
Rep. Greg Porter, D-Indianapolis, author of the legislation, called the report a big step forward for Indiana’s anti-bullying initiatives.
“The whole point is to look at the education atmosphere of our children,” he said. “This is why we have the data, to give schools tools to address it.”
But Porter questioned why more than 240 schools, of the more than 1,000 individual schools in the data, reported no incidents.
When the legislation was debated, Porter said, there was concern some schools might not report to avoid “looking bad,” he said. That makes it difficult for meaningful comparisons among the schools.
As we mentioned yesterday, a new charter school will open in Dugger later this month, thanks to a partnership with the Indiana Cyber Charter School. And after a school board meeting last night, the new charter school has a home in two of the school district’s old school buildings.
The Northeast School Corporation School Board voted 5-0 for the sale of the former Union High School and Dugger Elementary properties at a meeting Monday night.
Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana
A new charter school in Dugger will now occupy the former Dugger Elementary school building, as well as the Union Junior/Senior High School.
This is the same board that voted last December to close the Dugger Union Community Schools because of budget shortfalls.
The entire process began in February of this year, when the NESC school board signed a resolution to put both schoolhouses on the Indiana Department of Education’s vacant school building list. Board members finalized registration to that list on July 31, and the very next day Dugger Union Community School reps penned letters of interest in both buildings.
The transfer of the property actually took place last week – Monday’s action was simply a legal formality.
Educators at the Gary Community School Corporation will meet with state education officials Monday night to discuss how to help the district out of recent academic struggle.
Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana
A turnaround operator has run Theodore Roosevelt College & Career Academy in Gary since the state intervened in 2012. Is a similar fate in store for other Gary schools?
The Indiana Department of Education will host a public hearing at Dunbar-Pulaski, renamed the Gary Middle School, at 6:30 p.m. to get public input regarding the district’s future. Members of the DOE and State Board of Education staff have visited other districts in similar situations before to toss around improvement options.
Earlier this year, the Indiana Department of Education labeled GSCS a “high risk” district. Thirteen of Gary’s 16 public schools received D or F accountability grades from the state last year, and many of those had failing marks prior to that.
Indiana law requires state intervention when a schools receives six consecutive failing grades under the A-F system. Gary’s Roosevelt College and Career Academy was turned over in 2012 to private operator Edison Learning, which still runs the school.