Institute on Education and the Economy


Using What We Have to Get the Schools We Need:
A Productivity Focus for American Education

Consortium on Productivity in the Schools

This publication is the culmination of an intensive analysis by the Consortium on Productivity in the Schools. The Consortium, conducted under the auspices of IEE, found that American schools need to undergo major structural changes in order to increase their efficiency and productivity. In the words of G. Carl Ball, chairman of Geo. J. Ball, Inc., the major funder of the Consortium, "The only way that schools can escape from this bind of higher expectations and decreasing financial support is to make more efficient use of the resources they have. We think that is possible."

The report cites unstable governance, lack of incentives to bring about productivity improvements, and schools structured to reinforce continuity rather than continuous improvement as among the reasons that American schools are not getting greater learning gains from a broad range of students.

Using a systems analysis approach, the Consortium describes the nation's 84,000 public schools as part of a complex system. Past attempts to improve education have failed, the report asserts, because they addressed only parts of that complete system.

In addition to the Ball Foundation, important funding came from Citicorp, the G. Victor and Margaret D. Ball Foundation, and the Robert and Terri Cohn Family Foundation. Dr. Sue Berryman, the past director of IEE, directed the Consortium, which included national experts from diverse fields: public-sector management, productivity, finance, education, health policy, systems analysis, organizational change, and private-sector management.

To learn more, read the executive summary or download the report from ERIC.



Institute on Education and the Economy, Teachers College, Columbia University
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