US Dept of Education Offers School Productivity Advice

The United States Department of Education (USDE) has launched a program to increase the productivity of school systems, focusing on both student performance and cost efficiencies.  The program provides technical assistance and guidance to both school systems and governments on how to realize productivity gains.  Further information can be found on USDE’s website.  The advice is drawn from a variety sources and current best practices.

Increasing educational productivity by doing more with less will not be easy. It will mean graduating a significantly greater number of students—with higher levels of mastery and expertise—at a lower cost per outcome. This will require leaders at every level—from the classroom to the statehouse—to work together to rethink the policies, processes, tools, business models, and funding structures that have been ingrained in our education system for decades.

In March, to help states meet the challenge of doing more with less and to protect public schools from counterproductive cutbacks, Education Secretary Arne Duncan released promising practices on the effective, efficient, and responsible use of resources in tight budget times. Building off of this work, the Office of Innovation and Improvement has compiled additional information to help schools, districts, and states increase educational productivity. …

The information compiled here is organized into 10 reform categories, each aligned with various strategies, practices, or approaches that seek to increase productivity by:

  • Improving outcomes while maintaining current costs;
  • Maintaining current outcomes while lowering costs; or
  • Both improving outcomes and lowering costs.

There are three main areas of focus:  (1) improving student achievement; (2) improving processes, systems, and resource allocations; and (3) improving human capital.

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