Drop in school teachers and administrators in NJ
14 to 18 percent drop in school staff may hurt teacher's effectiveness and student learning.
Last year budget woes had their impact on education sector as in the new data released by the state showed that schools in New Jersey had 4700 fewer teachers when they opened last September. There were 600 fewer administrators through out the state as compared to last year.
The lost position data includes teachers and administrators who quit or got retired or were simply dismissed. The number of school teachers and administrators dropped by 4 and 7 percent in the period from 2009-10 to 2010-11 reducing to 110,972 and 8,515 respectively.
As per an analysis by The Record, the number of full-time teachers reduced to 24,894 statewide showing a fall of 14 percent. These teachers had experience of one to five years. There was a drop of 32 percent in the number of teachers who had less then one year of experience.
This drop in size of teaching staff has increased the workload of remaining teachers, increased the size of class and has also affected the course offering. The Christie administration has blamed the severe recession, loss of federal stimulus and soaring property taxes as reasons for reduced spending in the education sector.
Frank Belluscio, spokesman for the New Jersey School Board Association has predicted that the trend will continue this fall also but to a lesser degree. Belluscio said “We’re still in downsizing mode; until the economy turns around I don’t see a reversal.”
Number of teachers with more then 30 years of experience fell by 18 percent to 7,314 last year. Many of them retired last summer amid concerns that their benefits might be reduced.
As compared to last year, the year 2010-11 saw 3.1 percent fewer teachers and 5 percent fewer administrators in Bergen and Passaic counties. While there was 2 percent drop in salaries paid to certified teachers. Englewood Cliffs, Becton Regional High School and Bogota districts gave biggest salary savings by percentage in North Jersey.
NJEA spokesman Steve Baker said the Union estimate for teachers was “not that far out of line”. “When you loose 4,700 teachers the impact on students is undeniable” Mr. Baker added “It’s serious and detrimental”.