In 2011, the Center of American Progress 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. In this updated report, CAP uses these same metrics to once again examine the productivity of the nation’s school districts. They 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. But still, school productivity has not become part of the reform conversation, and with this project, the hope is to shine a light on how productivity differs across districts, as well as to identify key areas of reform.
Read the report here.