Thursday, November 02, 2006

L.A.'s Expanding EduCracy: An Ailment For Our Times?

The Los Angeles Unified School District, which just awarded a million-dollar contract to a first-time superintendent with no public school teaching or leadership experience whatsoever, has declining numbers of students but expanding numbers of EduCrats:
As Los Angeles Unified teachers clash with the district over demands for a 9 percent pay hike, figures obtained Tuesday show bureaucracy at the district has grown 12 percent over the past six years despite declining numbers of students and educators.

More than 680 administrators and supervisors have been added at the district since fiscal 2001, as teachers have dropped about 2 percent, to 37,858. Enrollment has dropped from 717,871 to 708,461 this year, according to the data.

Meanwhile, in the latest salvo in the increasingly contentious contract talks, United Teachers Los Angeles was set to release a report today that it says indicates a bloated bureaucracy has kept teachers' compensation packages stagnant while salaries have lost ground to inflation.

The report - commissioned by the district and union to assess whether the LAUSD spends too much on bureaucracy - draws no conclusions and makes no recommendations.

District officials counter that the report actually reflects a cash-strapped system that might need to curtail teacher hiring if enrollment continues to drop.

"We have a lean bureaucracy. Anybody who says, `all you need is to whack bureaucrats to pay for (a raise)', it's not true. We've been sparing in how we add people," said [outgoing] Superintendent Roy Romer.
Read the whole thing.

Our own district down here in California's "Imperial" Valley also suffers from the same ailment. In the past few years our enrollment has gone down by several hundred students. While a number of classroom teachers have lost their jobs as a consequence, the district has created several new supervisory positions, along with the secretarial staff needed to do the real work for support the newly-minted EduCrats.

And let's not forget that teachers in our district haven't had any sort of increase in take-home pay in over 5 years while paychecks for administrators have gone up some 20%.
See our latest EduPosts and this date's Extra Credit Reading.