On his blog, former Kansas state budget director Duane Goossen writes: “Lawmakers do have discretion over general state aid, and they have chosen to let it decline. The result: classroom sizes are growing and Kansas districts are less able to competitively attract and retain high-caliber teachers.”
Here’s the data, fresh from Kansas State Department of Education. The number of teachers has been rising for four years, and rising proportionally faster than enrollment. That is why the pupil-teacher ratio has fallen. (Class size is not the same as pupil-teacher ratio. But if there are proportionally more teachers than students, we have to wonder why class sizes are growing — if, in fact, they are.)
The story is not the same in each school district. Therefore, I’ve created an interactive visualization that lets you examine the employment levels and ratios in Kansas school districts. Click here to open the visualization in a new window.
Within school districts, there is variation among schools. Here are two examples from the Wichita school district where one school has a declining pupil-teacher ratio, while the same measure is rising in the other. But even this data does not tell us about class size.