Posts tagged ‘Chapel Hill’

Increased Education Spending Going to Administrators

For years, I have suspected that a lot of increased per pupil spending in public schools has gone to increasing numbers of administrators rather than teachers or facilities.  I just have to compare the administration numbers at my kids private school and those at the local public school and the contrast is just amazing.

Mark Perry demonstrates a similar effect in state-run college education:

This decade has been good for associate vice chancellors at UNC-Chapel Hill. Their numbers have nearly doubled, from 10 to 19, and the money paid to them has more than tripled, to a total of nearly $4 million a year. The university now admits that some of these people were in jobs that were not vital. They represent the rapid management growth in the 16-campus UNC system that has added tens of millions of dollars to annual payrolls.

Now, with a tough economy and sinking tax revenues, UNC officials and state lawmakers say these jobs need cutting first.

Systemwide over the past five years, the administrative ranks have grown by 28%, from 1,269 administrative jobs to 1,623 last year, UNC-system data show. That's faster than the growth of faculty and other teaching positions -- 24% -- and faster than student enrollment at 14%. The number of people with provost or chancellor in their titles alone has increased by 34% the past five years, from 312 in 2004 to 418 last year. The cost was $61.1 million, up $25 million from five years before.

Perry also show similar numbers in his own university in Michigan.

Kudos to the UNC system for at least considering cuts in these bloated administrator positions.  You never see public grade schools systems ever suggest such cuts - when forced to economize, they always suggest cutting something inflammatory like textbooks for high school or crayons for kindergarteners.  One difference is that UNC faces competition from a myriad of other public and private colleges, while most local grade school districts do not.

I would still like to find similar staffing numbers for our local public school district, breaking out teachers from principals, assistant principals, and administrators, but they seem loath to share such detail.

Ignoring Incentives

OK, here is my question:  Do the folks in this article understand incentives and simply ignore them, or are they truly ignorant?

In a move that would make zero a grade of the past, the Chapel
Hill-Carrboro school district is considering making 61 the lowest grade
for a failing assignment.

The goal would be to assure that a single
test-day disaster doesn't ruin a semester. Some teachers, students and
parents say the change would coddle failing students....

Homework would not count for more than 20 percent of the quarterly
grade, according to the proposal. Other proposed revisions include
giving students more time to make up incomplete assignments while
offering more support strategies, making it easier for them to pass.

[would] have a chance to recover," Martin said. "Getting a bad grade or
having a bad day does not mean you are a failure. This is about hope."

There is simply no way this is going to help, and it is amazing to me that educated people can't see it, yet I think that is the case (I don't believe they are trying to be evil)  A staggeringly large percentage of what goes awry in the world can be explained by bad or mismatched incentives, so it is incredible to me that our education system seems to so consistently resist teaching this topic.