As a system that encourages students to develop vital learning skills at an early stage and acquire new skills as they continue their education, PK-12 has rigid staffing standards. Unfortunately, the required staffing rates are quite challenging to meet for some schools due to funding issues, as multiple studies confirm (Sugarman, 2019). Therefore, updating the existing standards to reflect the changing educational landscape and provide students with a greater range of opportunities is urgently required.
The present staffing standards vary depending on the area, yet most resources concede that the weighted salary of educators should vary from $95.00 per student (grades 1-5) to $196.60 per student (grades 6-12). The specified standards reflect the necessity to align the complexity of the teaching process with the benefit that teachers receive (Virginia Department of Education, 2016). Furthermore, the weighted staffing model suggests the following staffing ratios for grades 1-5 and 6-12 accordingly: 70:1 and 45:1 (Seattle Public Schools, 2018). However, given the necessity to provide each student with a unique learning experience and apply a learner-specific approach, particularly, when meeting the needs of ESL students, the specified ratio should be reduced toward 40:1 and 25:1 accordingly. Similarly, the current staffing standards for custodial, security, and food service need to be raised so that the efficacy of support, safeguarding, and nutrition could be improved accordingly.
Due to the inequalities defined by socioeconomic and financial issues, a range of PK-12 settings struggles to ensure proper staffing levels and meeting the set standards for performance. The described concern includes not only teaching but also areas such as security and food service. To manage the described problem, educational authorities will have to revisit the existing policies concerning the management of resources and financial support for schools, especially those in remote areas. Moreover, to ensure staffing, outsourcing and incorporating digital innovations will be needed to facilitate an improved educational experience.
Seattle Public Schools. (2018). 2018-19 schools’ funding allocations. SPS.
Sugarman, J. (2019). The unintended consequences for English learners of using the four-year graduation rate for school accountability. Migration Policy Institute.
Virginia Department of Education. (2016). Summary of the standards of quality. VDE.