2010 April 13 Tuesday
School Spending Bubble In New Jersey

Another sign of how the public sector grew even as the private sector of the American economy was sputtering.

Given the state's chronic budget woes, the schools' hiring spree defies logic. Since 2001, just as budget problems began in earnest, public-school enrollment in Jersey has risen by less than 3 percent, or slightly more than 36,000 students. But total school hiring (full-time employees and equivalents) has jumped by 14 percent, or nearly 28,000 employees, according to federal Census statistics.

That's right: Jersey's schools have added three-quarters of an employee for every new student -- during a period of deep fiscal pain for the state. Most of the new hires were teachers -- which is more than one new instructional worker for every two new students.

The hiring spree, along with rich benefit increases, has fueled payrolls. Wage costs alone have increased 43 percent since 2001 -- well ahead of the inflation rate plus enrollment growth.

How much of this spending increase was driven by "close the gap" politics? How much was driven by naive belief even on the right side of the Bell Curve that higher spending can substantially boost student performance? The educational bubble still hasn't burst like the housing bubble. But the education delusion can't last forever - it is becoming too expensive.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2010 April 13 10:50 PM  Education

mike said at April 14, 2010 2:52 AM:

"How much of this spending increase was driven by "close the gap" politics? How much was driven by naive belief even on the right side of the Bell Curve that higher spending can substantially boost student performance?"

How much was driven by simple "get mine" moneygrubbing and political bribes?

Black Death said at April 14, 2010 6:04 AM:

New Jersey republican governor Chris Christie has been trying to crack down on these excesses. The union leaders have been praying for his death. From Mish's blog:

Governor Christie is calling for the firing of the Teachers' Union official who sought for prayers Christie's death. Christie was discussing death threats and other items on CNBC.

New Jersey has a state budget of $29 billion and a deficit of $11 billion. New Jersey has among the highest property taxes in the nation yet the union wants more tax hikes.

Christie says the union argument "you are hurting the children" is an old, long worn out song. I agree. Moreover, all Christie is asking the union to do is accept a 1 year salary freeze and contribute 1.5% to their benefits (about $750 dollars a year for a $50,000 teacher).

Christie notes that Compulsory Teachers' Union dues are $730 a year. If the union wanted to do something for the kids, and the teachers, it could suspend those.

Unions are the "Bullies of State Street" says Christie.

Indeed, I do not believe Christie has asked for enough. Union benefits are overly generous. Full family medical and dental benefits are about $18,000 to $22,000 a year. The private sector does not get anything like that for $750 a year, let alone free.

miles said at April 14, 2010 5:57 PM:

Lots of government jobs are basically "sophisticated welfare" for the left-leaning and college-educated.

REN said at April 17, 2010 12:01 AM:

Researching Texas school costs yielded about 8K per per student. Private schools do the same job for about 5K per year. The spread in costs is due partially to the hard to teach knuckle head dummy students more prevalent in public schools. But, some of the extra cost in public schools is due to inefficiency and union costs.

Going back in time, school lunches in Texas were provided by the Texas prison system. The prisoners grew food and manufactured goods. They even made their own clothes. Guess how much the Texas Prison system cost per prisoner was in 1950? It was Zero dollars. The Prison system either was zero dollars, or actually made money for the state. It is a least 30K per prisoner now, a cost borne by the taxpayer, and is money shoveled at private for-profit prisons.

The liberals of the 60's felt it was intolerable that prisoners should be guarding prisoners, as in the trustee system. What the trustee system did though, is make trustees the eyes and ears of the guards. The trustees had a way to work themselves up and out to reduced time via parole. Gang activity was practically non-existence, because the "man" was completely in charge. Nowdays, Gangs rule the prisons. Which prison system seems more humane. Thanks liberals for the and all the wonderful things you can think up.

Another case where our brain dead leftists have thought they could overturn the nature of man and economics.

To be fair, the overturn of the Texas Prison system, was fought across ideological lines. The leftists wanted to end the trustee system. But, local businesses,(Farmers and Manufacturers) wanted the profits. So, farming and manufacturing in the Texas Prison System was shut down, and the taxpayer got shafted.

REN said at April 17, 2010 8:47 AM:

The lack of stay at home mothers is having a huge impact that we don't talk about. In the past, when mothers stayed at home to watch the kids, they also watched the schools. Mother's involved themselves in schools and donated their time. Mother's formed networks that served as watchdogs over the neighborhoods, and their local schools.

Obesity can be traced to fast processed foods, and an inactive lifestyle. Kids have to get exercise in organized events, hence the term "soccer mom." Mom's can no longer shoo the kids outside because they know their neighborhoods are unsafe. Mom's are not staying home and cooking decent foods for the kids, because they don't have time.

What kind of kids grow up in this environment of working parents? Do they get the emotional time bonding that would be inherent in a stay at home mom society? Marginal kids who could have made it in the right environment, probably don't make it in today's environment, and end up in jail or become an unproductive drain on society.

In our former society with stay at home Mom's, often the smartest women became teachers. Today, they have other opportunities, and the smartest women are unlikely to be attracted to a low paying tough job, like teaching. Also, teachers today are not getting the help they need from mothers, yet another disincentive to become a teacher.

Let's also consider the dysgenics of Peasant immigration, and Welfare. We actual paid our lowest producing members of society to reproduce at a high rate. Today we are importing peasants from the lower strata of third world countries. At the same time, we tell our productive members that they need to restrain their birth rate due to "overpopulation." More likely the restrained birth rate among the productive is due to long term thinking that sees consequence to having children in a society that doesn't value the actual time needed to raise them up. Again dygenics raises its head, as those people who are unable to see consequences of their actions, are likely to be the breeders.

The overreach by our elites, where they steal money from the productive is having societal consequences leading to our breakdown. The elite are stealing our wealth and our time. They do this with banking usury and high taxes. The elite are rent seekers who are unproductive. They have created a world of dysgenics and societal pressures that are negative to the extreme. Engaging in wars, siphoning away money and wealth from the productive, engaging in dysgenic social engineering, are all actions that would be indicative of a hostile occupying army.

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