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Public Schools and Money


Education Next Volume 12, Number 4, ISSN 1539-9664


Education managers are typically inexperienced in and often reluctant to initiate cost-savings actions. Budget cuts may be poorly targeted, and students, particularly economically disadvantaged students, are swept up in the process as collateral damage. In California and Washington, bad budget cutting has already begun. Governors in these two states have acquiesced to employee demands and have protected educator jobs at the expense of students' time to learn. The greatest risk of all is to the past quarter century of efforts to render America's schools more effective. Unless means are identified for making schools more productive, that is, doing better with less, reform momentum is in serious jeopardy. School productivity, measured as educational outcomes divided by labor or financial inputs, has declined dramatically. Indeed, relative to sectors such as communication, finance, manufacturing, and agriculture, the public schools are highly labor-intensive. The productivity picture is made worse by the resistance of schools to augment teachers' efforts with new instructional technologies. In this article, the authors discuss why school productivity matters and offer strategies for improving productivity in times of austerity. (Contains 3 figures.)


Guthrie, J. & Ettema, E.A. (2012). Public Schools and Money. Education Next, 12(4), 18-23. Retrieved January 23, 2022 from .

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