Federal Regulations Load States with Education Employees

Published December 19, 2013

State departments of education employ an average of 142 employees per million state residents, according to a Heritage Foundation analysis. The report fingers growing federal regulations for a massive increase in education bureaucrats: Since the 1950s, K-12 enrollment has increased by 96 percent but nonteaching staff has grown by 702 percent.

Washington, DC is the most bureaucrat-heavy jurisdiction, with 768 district employees per million residents. Montana is the second-most-laden state, with 444 state education employees per million residents. Texas is the least bureaucrat-heavy state, at 30 per million residents.

The analysis notes federal education spending and mandates have increased vastly in the past several decades, yet student achievement has remained mediocre.

“State departments of education have staff to manage the hundreds of hoops and federal regulations requiring them to demonstrate compliance with federal programs and mandates,” says Lindsey Burke, a Heritage scholar and the report’s author.

Through policies such as the A-PLUS Act, which would replace No Child Left Behind, states should be allowed to opt out of federal education mandates, she said, “increasing the likelihood that education spending actually makes its way to the classroom instead of getting lost in the bureaucratic ether.” 

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