Each year the [U.S. Census] Bureau publishes a comprehensive report on public school revenues and expenditures. Coupled with education staffing statistics from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data, it gives us a fundamental picture of the finances and labor costs of the American public school system. The latest Census Bureau report provides details of the 2008-09 school year, as the nation was in the midst of the recession. That year, 48,238,962 students were enrolled in the U.S. K-12 public education system. That was a decline of 157,114 students from the previous year. They were taught by 3,231,487 teachers (full-time equivalent). That was an increase of 81,426 teachers from the previous year. This is not new information. We knew last October that the entire public education workforce—teachers, principals, administrators and support workers—grew by more than 137,000 employees during the recession. What the Census Bureau numbers add to that information is that we almost replaced every lost student with a new employee. Twenty-seven states had fewer students in 2009 than in 2008, but 16 of them hired more teachers. . . . It’s an odd enterprise that reacts to fewer clients by hiring more employees.