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Woke “Diversity Officers” Draining Public School Budgets with Bureaucratic Bloat

Posted on Monday, February 13, 2023
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by AMAC Newsline
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53 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott

In response to learning loss and general worse outcomes for students brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, many states and localities have in recent years pushed to drastically expand funding for education. But data increasingly shows that much of this money never reaches students or even teachers and is instead vacuumed up by an ever-growing administrative state within the public school system.

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Education, from 2000-2019, hiring of administrators far outpaced growth in student and teacher populations. In those 19 years, the number of students in the American public schools system increased 7.6%, while the number of teaching positions increased 8.7%. In that same time period, the number of administrative roles increased a startling 87.6%.

A separate report from Education Next highlights just how much funding these extra administrators account for. For example, in Washington, D.C., school administrators make on average $20,000 more than teachers. In 2013, the Charleston County, South Carolina school system had 30 administrators with annual salaries above $100,000. By 2020, that figure had soared to 133. In total, half of states “have more noninstructional personnel than teachers,” according to the study.

Meanwhile, teacher salaries have stagnated, even as many districts struggle to fill positions. During the 2020-2021 school year, the average salary for a public school teacher in the United States was $41,770. That same year, public school administrators earned an average of $102,650 – often without ever offering a single lesson to students.

Some administrative positions are undoubtedly essential to the mission of public schools. Jobs like principal, librarian, and school nurse all fall under the label of “administrators.” But most of the new roles created in recent years have been related to so-called “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) initiatives and other efforts by the left to infuse radical social politics into the public school system.

According to a Heritage Foundation report, 79% of public school districts with over 100,000 students now employ a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) and support staff. Many schools also have positions like “Chief Equity Officer” or an “office for cultural engagement and inclusion.”

The job descriptions for these roles are dripping in left-wing rhetoric. Take, for example, the role of Chief Equity Officer for Columbus City Schools in Columbus, Ohio. The position, which offers an annual salary of $137,000, is described as a “mission to create equitable outcomes for all students” and “implement a comprehensive and collaborative vision for diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Many liberal state and local governments are also mandating that schools hire a certain number of staff to DEI roles, creating a fixed cost for “management” that does not affect all schools equally. Smaller schools within districts are forced to hire the same number of administrators as larger schools, leaving less money for teachers and actual student learning materials.

However, despite the left’s insistence that more administrators will boost performance, achievement gaps are growing, not shrinking. According to the Heritage Foundation report, on average since 2017, every district with a CDO or related role saw an increase in achievement gaps compared to those without one. Reading and math scores for students overall are also continuing a sharp decline.

Unsurprisingly, a growing number of parents are looking to ditch the public school system altogether, and are calling on politicians to “fund students, not systems.” In January, Utah became the third state to enact a universal school choice program, creating a state-funded scholarship program that can be used for private school tuition. The legislation also directly increased teacher pay for public school teachers, ensuring that the money that does remain in the public school system will not go toward further expanding administrative roles.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a similar bill just one week earlier, capping a year-long legislative effort to provide more than $7,000 in annual funds per student to be used at the discretion of parents, rather than education bureaucrats. Reynolds had faced opposition from some members of her own party in the state legislature over a similar bill last year, and took the unusual step of endorsing primary challenges against those members, helping unseat several and making clear the public support for school choice.

Other Republican leaders like Governor Glenn Youngkin in Virginia and Governor Ron DeSantis in Florida have also enacted school choice measures that have been well-received by the public.

Democrats, meanwhile, have continued to insist (with little hard evidence) that school choice “harms students” – even as they mandate the continued growth of the administrative bloat that is in part driving families away from public schools in the first place. Until the left recognizes the measurable harm that their policies inflicts on students, they will continue to lose the support – and the votes – of parents nationwide.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.

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Rob Brown
Rob Brown
9 months ago

What makes someone an expert in diversity? I don’t know of any classes or degrees in diversity. This is a bunch of BS and a ripoff to tax payers. There isn’t anyone qualified to be in charge of diversity. Teach courses in high school to qualify for life or for higher education and teach courses in college that will get people qualified for good paying and satisfying careers. Get rid of gut courses and get rid of diversity groups nationwide.

Sam
Sam
9 months ago

And now you KNOW why the teachers pour $$ into the democrats pockets

Will
Will
9 months ago

Amazing how the lottery was supposed to help with the public schools , then that went down the tubes. And its no wonder that the children are not learning anything . The Damm bureaucrats are always trying to line there pockets , so who looses the children and the American people why they make up bogus programs that don’t help the children accept to Brian wash them.

Sean Richman
Sean Richman
9 months ago

AMERICAS education system has gone the same way as our country has gone,down the sewer of NO return.Sorry,but the way the liberal,socialist democ rats are screwing our country up,i’m afraid that it will take a miracle to save us from joey”mumbles”and his hoard of misfits.

Enuf Said
Enuf Said
9 months ago

If you want to see wanton neglect for tax payer funding in school- go no further than Baltimore. This place has got to be Satan’s full attack on education. Not one student in this desecration area, has a student proficient in matn–NOT ONE. Millions of dollars wasted on additional hall monitors when students were being taught remotely. Baltimore is hands don the worse excuse for public education in this country!

Bob Elder
Bob Elder
9 months ago

The best thing to do is make across the board administrator pay cuts for education sake of 15 to 30 percent and then turn around and make è20 percent teacher pay increases. That will clear out the dead wood.

Mary
Mary
9 months ago

I heard a commentary
where a suggestion was made for all concerned parents to take the plunge and home school. When the majority of the population says no more. When they lose all those tax dollars then you get change. Perhaps that is the first major protest “we the people” could possibly get behind.

Darrel
Darrel
9 months ago

You are at best a marginal parent if you are not removing your children from the public school. And this is coming from a retired public school teacher.

Tim Toroian
Tim Toroian
9 months ago

Diversity officer, “progressive” for commissar or political officer when attached to the military. For you, young people, commissars, and political officers are from the Soviet Union.

Bob M
Bob M
9 months ago

Several things: 1) I’m a retired teacher. 2) School (or corporate) “Diversity Officers” are, in my opinion, nothing more than a waste of taxpayer dollars, spewing Marxist ideas into too many (if not all) school districts. 3) The acronym DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) is Latin for “God;” irony? 4) in my reading of that slogan, it should be “Diversity, Equity,and Inclusion (in that order) so that the acronym is DIE. 5) To paraphrase Brooks & Dunn: “We ALL (emphasis mine) get a chance; everybody gets to dance.” America is about equality of OPPORTUNITY, not outcome, no matter what color one is. “Not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

BAE
BAE
9 months ago

More useless people getting good wages. What do these people do anyway?
Just another WOKE waste of time and money………………………………………..

Amy
Amy
9 months ago

I’ve only read through the 3rd paragraph and I am thoroughly disgusted. I come from a family of educators. Both of my parents were teachers and one of my grandparents was a teacher and one of my grandfathers was a principal. I have substituted in public schools and my husband was a teacher for at least 7 years. While I desperately wanted children, for several years now I’ve been very glad that I was unable to have children. I wouldn’t want to have to deal with what the public education system has become. For one school system to go from 30 administrators to 133 in 7 years. It would be more appropriate if the population of the school system increased for the number of teachers to have increased by that much. As the administrators increase and their salaries continue to be at the level they are, teachers will be eliminated and their pay will go down or at the minimum won’t increase to keep up with inflation. The teachers are the most important component of the school system as they are the ones with direct student contact. If a school system has educated and competent principals, psychologists, and a nurse there should be no demand for further administrative specialists. If a school system feels they need the specialists, they don’t have good administrators already on staff. Instead of getting specialists, get good principals and assistants. The vast amount of a system’s budget should be spent on items that directly impact the student population and not the administrators.

MariaRose
MariaRose
9 months ago

This is just like any other misspending tactic–a large number of administration costs and very little on the actual staff to do the job.

teresa Ann d'alessandro
teresa Ann d'alessandro
9 months ago

they aren’t woke they’re asleep and i don’t like my taxes going to schools that teach hate or nonsense

Ann S
Ann S
9 months ago

Our education system is appalling, has been for many years but the last 20 years it has really gone down hill. All a plan to dumb America down. Parents are home schooling or private school their kids. I say bravo.

Jacqueline Callender
Jacqueline Callender
9 months ago

My daughter in law is a high school English teacher with a Master’s degree. She and my son moved to Washington State where she works for a university as a curriculum designer instead of teaching.

Patriot Will
Patriot Will
9 months ago

It’s a giant waste of money to spend so much on administration instead of teachers. Many individual learners need more attention from teachers to increase the student learning curve. Wasting money on excessive administrators not only robs young people of achieving more, it also makes the educational systems more out of touch and dysfunctional. What is even more amazing is how more and more educational administrators either have no or very little actual teaching experience. How can pie-in-the-sky administrators help those teachers and students who are actually doing the teaching and learning?

Pops
Pops
9 months ago

That’s all administrators are, is bloat. Get rid of all the administrators garbage and pay the principal a little more, and he runs the whole ship.

Jackie
Jackie
9 months ago

First of all, the federal government has no business being in charge of education!! We have seen how badly they can mess up absolutely anything!!! They are now making a mess of our children with their woke and gender indoctrination, sex being taught to elementary students, the new math that parents don’t know how to do and the LGBTQMNOP345 training that they want to do in schools now, racism claims, students who beat, scream at or malign their teachers, teachers who bring their personal agendas into the classroom!! If this is what is draining the budgets of schools, don’t go asking for more money until this situation is remedied!!!!!

granky
granky
9 months ago

Luckily I live in a rural conservative area where CRT is outlawed and money is not wasted on useless employees. Even though I have no children in school, I would run for school board if I lived in a liberal district if for no other reason than to keep them from wasting our money on an unwanted and worthless administrative employee.

K
K
9 months ago

Most of The Reprobate Minded Democrats Don’t Have Their Kids In Public aka Government Schools. The best way to know exactly what your children are learning is to Home School!

David Millikan
David Millikan
9 months ago

Remember 2 years ago when the Fascist liberals wanted to put those of us making fun of them in jail or put in Re-Education Camps because we don’t agree with their narrative?
Well, our schools, colleges, universities, and Institutes have become the Re-Education Camps using WOKE GARBAGE by BRAINWASHING and INDOCTRINATION of our children to ONLY SERVE and BE TOTALLY CONTROLLED by the Fascist liberals.
Is that how you want your children to be? DRONES THAT DON’T THINK.

David Millikan
David Millikan
9 months ago

The same thing was done when Clinton was in office.
Hire useless bureaucrats and raise taxes for pure political purposes and
ZERO benefits for States, Students, and Teachers.
They are WASTING your tax dollars and WASTING your children’s education by brainwashing and Indoctrination for political propaganda.
Pull YOUR children out of this if you value your children’s lives and education.
The only ones that benefit from this LOSER WOKE GARBAGE is bureaucrats and FASCIST liberals.
FIGHT AGAINST this COMMUNIST
GARBAGE.
LOSER WOKE GARBAGE IS un-American.

Michael Skok
Michael Skok
9 months ago

If you’re white, the reason according to the Far Left is that you’re racist.

mytake
mytake
9 months ago

No -The schools don’t need any more. Less is better. Those jobs are nothing but more trouble. More pork. Ripping off the taxpayers. What a bunch of bull.

Jeri
Jeri
9 months ago

As long as administration allows it, it will continue. As long as parents allow administration to continue…well, here we are. Pretty simple.

phoenix
phoenix
9 months ago

Home school.

Defund all public schools. After all its for the children!

JamesP.
JamesP.
9 months ago

The Government ruined the current school system with their need to control and indoctrinate. I ad mit I am anti-public school and pro- school choice. The only way to save the next generation of this country.

anna hubert
anna hubert
9 months ago

As long as the cash cow is not completely dry it will be milked

Leonard
Leonard
9 months ago

The initial premise in the article “brought on by Covid” is way off the mark. Failing our students is at least a decade old and throwing more money at teacher salaries is not a cure.

Paul W
Paul W
9 months ago

Bureaucracies…perhaps the largest bane of We the People.
All bureaucracies are bloated and redundant. Federal bureaucracies, in addition to being extremely overly expensive (trimming redundancy alone would save billions), unconstitutionally make regulations that are enforced as laws. These regulations are created by unelected people…ONLY the legislative branch of the government has the constitutional authority to create laws. More succinctly. bureaucracies suck!

sdgorton
sdgorton
9 months ago

Fire all but 5% of the Adminstrators, throw them in prison if you can, abolish all WOKE policies because they are totally un-American. Declare antifa as a terrorist organization & open season on antifa until they are all purged from the earth!!!!!

porterv
porterv
9 months ago

Democrats always create a mess like this. The solution is to close all government schools. There are alternatives.

George
George
9 months ago

This article demonstrates clearly why the United States Department of Education should be demolished and education placed back in the hands of the states. Any time the federal government get involved, there will be too many administrators and too few workers and too little devotion to the original purpose which, I believe, was to education the American young.

edward
edward
9 months ago

Remember this the next time you get you local real estate tax bill showing the school tax portion has gone up (again) even though your local school(s) student population is not growing.
As long as marxists are in control they will continue to take more of you paycheck until they have it all.

Lieutenant Beale
Lieutenant Beale
9 months ago

Sure, sounds great.
Let’s hire more woke administrators so we can have more drag queens in public schools.
To hell with math, science, music appreciation, reading, writing etc. Those subjects are “racist”
(This can’t be real. Wake me up from this bad dream when it’s over)

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