Monday, February 9, 2009

The Iowa Department of Education

Last week I briefly discussed the huge amount of cash sucked up for education in Iowa. Well that got me digging a little deeper into our tax dollars at work. There is a really nifty webpage that allows us to see our state employee salaries. I’m sure there are potentially thousands of blog articles hidden in the pages of that website but I’ll start with my favorite, the Department of Education.

According the Iowa Department of Education’s website, the following is basically what the Department does.

“The Iowa Department of Education (the Department) works with the Iowa State Board of Education (State Board) to provide oversight, supervision, and support for the state education system that includes public elementary and secondary schools, nonpublic schools that receive state accreditation, area education agencies (AEAs), community colleges, and teacher preparation programs.”

So just to get this straight - at no point do they actually teach a child anything. Now that we all know what they do (or don’t do), we can take a second to look at the amount of money we waste in wages.

First, there are around 700 employees of the Iowa Dept. of Education. That is 700 employees to provide oversight, supervision, and support. The total spent in wages to these 700 employees is just over $38.4 million dollars. The average yearly salary is $54,000. For every K-12 pupil, we spend $80 on a Dept. of Education bureaucrat. Another way to look at is for each teacher in Iowa we spend $1,166 on a Dept. of Education bureaucrat. Oh, and remember, they don’t produce anything.

Please don’t get me wrong. I do think education is one of the most important areas we need to focus on as a civilization. My problem is, increased government involvement has only hurt education over the years. The more money we dump into education, the more money goes to government bureaucrats and needless administration. When you couple these statistics with the statistics in my previous article, it really makes your blood boil. The cost of education as ordered and administered in Iowa presently is absolutely absurd and must be slashed.

Obviously more money going into a failed system hasn’t been working. It is time our Republican gubernatorial candidates start talking about meaningful ways to cut the size of government – and our taxes. Hopefully one of them will take on the Department of Education.

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