MN principal growth ticks up despite declining student enrollment

Growth in public school administration continues despite declining student enrollment, according to Minnesota data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) compiled by American Experiment.

In January 2023, I calculated that principal and assistant principal growth in Minnesota public elementary and secondary schools was nearly 10 times greater than teacher and student growth from 2000 to 2019. The number of principals and assistant principals on staff increased nearly 40 percent (39.6 percent) from fall 2000 to fall 2019 compared to 4.1 percent growth in teachers and 4.5 percent growth in students.

With the latest NCES data from fall 2021, the number of Minnesota principals and assistant principals has ticked up from fall 2019 (no data for fall 2020) while public school enrollment is down 22,697 students over that same time period. From 2000 to 2021, there has been a 43.2 percent increase in principals and assistant principals compared to a 1.9 percent increase in student growth. (As I wrote here, numbers from the Minnesota Department of Education show the state’s public school enrollment for the 2023-24 school year has declined for the fourth consecutive year. Nonpublic school enrollment ticked up just under one percent; homeschool enrollment increased 10 percent.)

Teacher growth over the 20-year period is 4.1 percent (which is what it was from 2000 to 2019 when student growth was more comparable at 4.5 percent). Student staff support (nurses, social workers, psychologists, speech therapists, etc.) grew by nearly 135 percent during that same period. Student mental health concerns have been at the forefront of education-related conversations over the last couple of years.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics data compiled by American Experiment