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Improving Educational Productivity (HC) (Research in Educational Productivity, Volume 1) [Hardcover]

By David H. Monk (Editor), Herbert J. Walberg (Editor) & Margaret C. Wang (Editor)
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Item Number 263188  
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Item description for Improving Educational Productivity (HC) (Research in Educational Productivity, Volume 1) by David H. Monk, Herbert J. Walberg & Margaret C. Wang...

This volume and the conference that gave rise to the chapters reported herein was conceived as a vehicle for bringing together this new generation of economists for the purpose of showcasing their work and facilitating an exploration of the implications for practice. In so doing we were conscious of the divide that can exist between the world of economics and educational finance, and the world of policymaking. We noted with interest the recent Education Week feature on the important but largely unappreciated role that economics is playing in the development of educational policy. Martin Carnoy's comment that "Educators ... look at economists as dangerous people who don't know schools..."(Education Week, October 25, 2000, page 44) has special relevance to what we are seeking to accomplish here. The authors received strict instructions to think of policymakers at local, state, and national levels as the intended audience for their chapters. The goal here is not merely to produce work that could also appear in scholarly journals, but rather to reach out and explain and interpret the latest and most promising research on the economics of education for policymakers who must make difficult choices about where and how resources need to be allocated.

We are pleased with how each author rose to the challenge of the task. The chapters deal with timely topics and provide overviews, critiques, and findings that are rich in implications for how we can strengthen our schools. The overarching focus is on productivity and the efficiency of K-12 schooling systems, and the authors approach the topic in a number of different ways.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   252
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2001
Publisher   Information Age Publishing
ISBN  1930608454  
ISBN13  9781930608450  

Availability  109 units.
Availability accurate as of May 29, 2017 05:39.
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More About David H. Monk, Herbert J. Walberg & Margaret C. Wang

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Industries & Professions > General
2Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Management & Leadership > Industrial
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > General
4Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Education > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Improving Educational Productivity (HC) (Research in Educational Productivity, Volume 1)?

Review of Improving Educational Productivity  Mar 26, 2003
Based upon a December 2000 conference sponsored by the Laboratory of School Success in Washington D.C., this edited volume offers 10 different papers on the economics of education productivity. The conference, and the commissioned papers that resulted from it, set out to bridge the communication divide that often exists between educators, policy practitioners, and even academics in the traditional field of education, and the new generation of economists that have devoted their research careers to studying the production of education. Authors were specifically directed to write in a manner that would convey important economic findings on education productivity at a level that would be useful for crafting real world policies on the issue. Most of the articles are summaries of the literature in a specific subfield of the economics of education productivity. After reading the volume, I am pleased to proclaim that the vast majority of the articles contained within it have achieved the laudable goal of producing an accessible summary that offers many "nuggets" of policy and administrative relevance. I highlight these nuggets in the following review.
The first three chapters (or papers) in this volume examine external influences on the production of primary and secondary education. The next four chapters single out an internal factor that exerts a principal influence on the production of K-12 education in the United States. The remaining three chapters offer an understanding of how economists think about education production functions.
The external influences on K-12 education production in the United States covered in this volume include state and local limitations on taxes to support public schools, the effect of litigation on the use of state revenues to support public schools, and the impact that private school competition has had on the production of public education. Thomas Downes and David Figlio conclude that just reducing the amount of revenue available to public schools does little to reduce waste in the production of education and may have the opposite effect. As an example, teacher's unions usually respond by cutting starting salaries, but rarely reduce the salaries of experienced teachers. Sheila Murray summarizes the impact of three decades of attempting to achieve funding equity in America's public schools and proclaims these attempts successful. She notes that student achievement in previously high-spending districts has not been greatly harmed by this redistribution. Dan Goldhaber offers a straightforward summary of the theory and evidence previously generated by economists on the impact of the availability of private school alternatives to the production of public education. Regretfully, he concludes that this previous research does not offer enough information to fully determine the likely consequences of the United States implementing a widespread policy of allowing vouchers.
The internal factors, covered in this volume, that affect school productivity include grade-retention policies, teacher resources, and site specific ways of measuring productivity and resource allocation. Eric Eide suggests that the decision to promote or retain a student would be better made if both parents and educators were forced to bear the full benefits and costs their decisions. Susanna Loeb offers evidence on the sizable degree that public schools differ in the average characteristics of their teachers and how these differences are related to the fact that "quality" teachers prefer schools with students of high socio-economic backgrounds. To overcome this, and the result that high socio-economic students receive higher quality educations, she suggests higher salaries and other perks to attract quality teachers to schools with low socio-economic students. Amy Schwart and Leanna Stiefel summarize the various ways in which economists measure the efficacy of K-12 school production and offers suggestions to policymakers such that school level data is preferred to district level and that multiple measures are favored to a single measure. While Ross Rubenstein and Patrice Latarola use data from the New York public schools to conclude, perhaps because of limited flexibility in allocation decisions, that expenditures on specific items at a school site tend to be very similar across school sites - even the high and low performing - in this district.
The last three papers in this volume deal with the broad issue of whether money matters to the production of quality K-12 education. Corrine Taylor provides a highly readable summary of reasons for the opposite sides taken on this issue. Using her own data, she offers convincing evidence that school resources do matter. Samid Hussain continues this important discussion by offering original research that finds that money matters more too low-performing schools and suggests that policymakers design interventions that keep this in mind. Finally, Jens Ludwig offers a summary of the statistical techniques that researchers need to employ to overcome the self-selection problem of children with strong family backgrounds choosing high-spending schools and thus making it difficult to determine that money does matter to quality education production.
Of most relevance to overcoming the divide that exists between education economists and education practitioners is the concluding chapter. In this chapter the editors summarize the interdisciplinary discussions that occurred after each paper was presented. After readings these summaries it is easy to conclude that the work of education economists has had an impact. From their recorded comments, practitioners believe that accountability in education production is important and that markets need to weigh more heavily in education resource allocation. But these same practitioners stress that in order for economists to maximize their contributions toward current federal, state, and local efforts to improve public school production, they must integrate their economic theories and statistical tests into a more holistic approach that includes what sister social sciences like anthropology, sociology, psychology, and political science have to offer. Volumes like this one, and the conference it was drawn from, are the steps necessary to achieve this goal.

Robert W. Wassmer
California State University
Sacramento, CA 95819-6081, USA

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