Be Careful What You Wish For: Asking for More Non Teaching Personnel

There is no question that teachers in the Philippine public schools are both underpaid and overworked. Class sizes are so much larger in the Philippines than in the United States. To alleviate this sad plight of instructors in the Philippines, a representative from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers is asking for an increase in the number of non teaching personnel who will attend to clerical and administrative tasks. The amount of paperwork is apparently a huge burden to teachers as schools continue to suffer a lack of technical support, equipment, and internet connectivity. This is another instance in which a problem is correctly identified. Unfortunately, the proposed solution is not. Overburdened by forms simply cannot be solved by adding more bureaucracy. It will only get worse.

I am reminded of the photo shown below that has gone viral a few years ago.

Above copied from Pinterest

The situation in the United States in both higher and basic education offers a preview. The Delta Cost Project at the American Institute of Research reports that over the past twenty years, the number of non teaching personnel has continuously increased in all institutions of higher learning:

Above copied from
Desrochers, Donna M and Kirshstein, Rita, ‘Labor Intensive or Labor Expensive? ChangingStaffing and Compensation Patterns in Higher Education,’ Delta Cost Project at American Institutefor Research.

And in K to 12, a similar expansion in non teaching personnel has been evident.

Above copied from
Scafidi, B. The School Staffing Surge: Decades of Employment Growth in America’s PublicSchools, TheFriedman Foundation for Educational Choice, October 2012

The above studies are reporting a boom in non teaching personnel in both higher and basic education. Whether these increases benefit students or not is a question that remains to be answered. That is why that viral photo of a construction is worth our time and reflection.