ConclusionPrivate sector productivity in the United States has increased in recent years while productivity in education has declined. Although there are many ways that education productivity could be defined and measured, it is unlikely that any reasonable measure would show a great productivity increase, given a major escalation of inputs (whether measured by labor or dollars) with most output measures remaining relatively unchanged.Education policy has traditionally ignored any consideration of productivity. Indeed, consid-ering productivity has generally been viewed as something bad, something that can only have bad implications for educational quality and for school policy (Callahan, 1962). In today’s world of fiscal imbalances and budgetary pressures, it seems impossible to continue ignoring productivity.Given the disconnect between inputs and outputs and the fact that inputs are unlikely to con-tinue to increase as quickly as they have in the past (Guthrie & Ettema, 2012), a close examina-tion of the current practices that undermine productivity increases in education and a thoughtful exploration of alternative practices that might reverse this trend is in order.
Hanushek and Ettema 181AppendixFigure A2.Hispanic–White achievement gaps, 1975-2012.Source.NAEP scores- Data on NAEP Long-Term Trend Mathematics Assessments from data explorer at .ed.gov/nationsreportcard/lttdata/.Note.NAEP = National Assessment of Educational Progress.Figure A1.Black–White achievement gaps, 1975-2012.Source.NAEP scores: Data on NAEP Long-Term Trend Mathematics Assessments from data explorer at .ed.gov/nationsreportcard/lttdata/.Note.NAEP = National Assessment of Educational Progress.
182The American Economist 62(2) Authors’ NoteThe views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of TNTP.Declaration of Conflicting InterestsThe author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.FundingThe author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.Notes1. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a nationally representative test in differ-ent subjects of students at different ages. It is often called “The Nation’s Report Card” (see .ed.gov/nationsreportcard/).2. This study is closely related to analysis in Texas (Combs, 2010).3. The Common Core is a set of content standards for each grade and subject. It was designed to unify the standards across states, but it became controversial because it impinged on the right of each state to control its own schools. For a description of the effort, see .
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- Eric A. Hanushek, NAEP.