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From 1992 to 2009 Oregon public school enrollment increased by 15%, while the number of teachers grew by 13%. But during that same period, administrators and other nonteaching staff grew by 47%, more than three times as fast as student growth.

If class size really does make a difference, and 37 years of teaching convinces me that it does, Oregon has been putting its limited education resources in the wrong place. Our student-teacher ratio has risen while our student-administrator ratio has dramatically fallen. Of course, it varies from one school district to another, but Oregonians in general should be asking why those who run our public schools have seen fit to increase their own ranks at three times the rate of growth in student enrollment while allowing for a small decline in the number of teachers relative to students.

Oregon is worse than most other states in this regard but not all that much worse. It's a nationwide phenomenon. That's one reason why the public school system is a black hole into which money disappears while reading scores continue to decline.

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