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ERIC Number: ED561093
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jul
Pages: 47
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Return on Educational Investment: 2014. A District-by-District Evaluation of U.S. Educational Productivity
Boser, Ulrich
Center for American Progress
In 2011, the Center of American Progress (CAP) released the first-ever attempt to evaluate the productivity of almost every major school district in the country. That project developed a set of relatively simple productivity metrics in order to measure the achievement that a school district produces relative to its spending, while controlling for factors outside a district's control, such the cost of living and students living in poverty. The findings of that first report were worrisome and underscored the fact that the nation suffers from a productivity crisis. The data suggested that low productivity might cost the nation's school system billions of dollars a year. What's more, too few states and districts tracked the bang that they received for their education buck. In this updated report, CAP uses these same metrics to once again examine the productivity of the nation's school districts. The authors embarked on this second evaluation for a number of reasons. In many areas, education leaders continue to face difficult budget choices, and more than 300,000 education-related jobs have been lost since the start of the Great Recession. At the same time, the advent of the new, more rigorous Common Core standards will demand that far more from educators, including better, tougher exams. In short, many educators are being asked to do more with less. The following was found: (1) Low educational productivity remains a deeply pressing problem, with billions of dollars lost in low-capacity districts; (2) Some of the nation's most affluent school systems show a worrying lack of productivity; (3) In some districts, spending priorities are clearly misplaced; (4) State approaches to improving fiscal effectiveness vary widely; (5) States have failed to make fiscal equity a priority and large funding gaps exist across school districts; and (6) State budget practices are often inconsistent and opaque. Frequently asked questions are appended.
Center for American Progress. 1333 H Street NW 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-682-1611; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for American Progress
IES Cited: ED562553