The Productivity Imperative
Getting More Benefits From School Costs in an Era of Tight Budgets
The current economic crisis will challenge just about every public- and private-sector institution in America. Schools are no exception: They will compete with other publicly funded obligations for precious tax dollars. Big deficits and tight budgets are likely to mean that real per-pupil spending on schools will not rise in the near term.
This is bad news in an environment in which many big-city districts are bleeding students and money, some near bankruptcy, and when schools are struggling to meet the performance expectations of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. That said, the crisis could ultimately strengthen public education if leaders set their sights not on incremental budget cuts, but rather on refocusing schools around a productivity imperative.
In the private sector, downturns force tough resource decisions that pay off later in greater efficiency. School districts have been able to duck these decisions in the past by campaigning for increased government support. But now that governments are also struggling with deficits, districts probably need to get serious about running leaner and...
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