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Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: teacher aides

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August 26, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Support staff growth modest here, while nationally it explodes

National growth in education staffing and enrollment, 1970–2010 Credit: Thomas B. Fordham Institute

While public school enrollment in Washington has surged by more than 23 percent since 1990, the state still employs roughly the same number of school support staff as it did a generation ago, making us either admirably lean or in dire need of more classroom aides – depending on your perspective.

The information comes via a national report released by education reformers at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute which finds that, nationally, school staffing has exploded since 1950, climbing by more than 400 percent.

Since 1970, the biggest driver of this growth has been teacher aides, who went from being virtually non-existent in classrooms during the 1970s to the largest category of employees other than teachers. Much of the increase is likely due to federal laws mandating equal education for handicapped kids and bilingual students, which resulted in many more paraprofesisonals working with children.

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Comments | Topics: Fordham Institute, school spending, teacher aides