Recently, a local district board member asked me, “What about the Governor’s claim that we have 680 more educators in Kansas than when he was elected? The Kansas Center for Economic growth claims that we have lost 650 teachers.”
Let’s look at the Governor’s statement first, which comes from a flier passed out during a campaign event:
Governor Brownback was elected in the fall of 2010 and took office in January of 2011, so looking at the data on certified staff reported to KASB by its members, we find the following:
Based on this information, it is true that we have more educators than when the Governor was elected. However, this does not speak to the fact that in the two years prior (from 2008-09 to 2010-11), we lost over 1,200 educators.
Note that the first sentence of the statement is referring to “educators.” Comparing the numbers above with the total number of students enrolled in public schools as reported by KSDE, we get this:
Note that, though the number of teachers decreased each year from 2008-09 through 2011-12, it has actually been increasing since 2011-12 at roughly the same rate as the number of students.
So, to answer the board member’s question, I would say both statements are true, and the apparent contradiction is based on the differences in the points in time, definitions, and data sources upon which they are based.