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Capitol Report for March 19: Non-teaching staff ranks greew faster than teachers, academic standards questioned

News9 reporter Alex Cameron (left) and CapitolBeakOK / City Sentinel editor Pat McGuigan
News9 reporter Alex Cameron (left) and CapitolBeatOK / City Sentinel editor Pat McGuigan

The latest edition of Capitol Report on the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City began with reporter Alex Cameron quoting economist Ben Scafidi, saying “there is a priority in public education for hiring people outside the classroom.”

CapitolBeatOK editor Pat McGuigan detailed the Georgia academic’s analysis of records from the National Center for Education Statistics. From 1992 to 2013, the number of Oklahoma students increased 14 percent, but the number of lead teachers grew only 11 percent.

Non-teaching staff numbers increased 33 percent in the same era. Scafidi pegged the cost of that boost at $294.1 million a year. With that money, schools could have financed a $7,042 annual raise for teachers – or $8,000 scholarships to 36,771 students to attend schools of choice … or lower taxes … or some mix of those three options.

In other news, McGuigan pointed ot controversy over pending Academic Standards for Math and English/Language Arts. Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and some legislators defend the standards, but a range of academic critics and legislators deem them “vague.” The standards take effect March 23, unless the Legislature compels additional work by Hofmeister and her staff.

Watch the video report

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