36 Cato J. 121 (2016)
The Dismal Productivity Trend for K-12 Public Schools and How to Improve It

handle is hein.journals/catoj36 and id is 127 raw text is: 











   THE DISMAL PRODUCTIVITY TREND FOR
     K-12 PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND HOW TO
                       IMPROVE IT
                    Benjamin Scafidi

   Over the past decade, Richard Vedder has become widely known
in academic, policy, and media circles for his work on productivity in
higher education. In fact, however, Vedder (1996, 2000; Vedder and
Hall 2000) studied issues in K- 12 education before turning to higher
education with his 2004 publication, Going Broke By Degree: Why
College Costs So Much. This article higlights Vedder's contribution
to debate on productivity in American public K-12 education and
updates his findings with more recent data. It finds that the produc-
tivity problem in K-12 public education is actually worse than
Vedder suggests is the case for higher education. This article also
reconsiders a solution Vedder proposed to ameliorate the K-12
productivity problem-parental choice combined with the conver-
sion of individual public schools into autonomous, employee-owned
enterprises.

Richard Vedder and the Economics of Education
   One can think of productivity as outputs divided by inputs.
Vedder, in his work on higher education, has been concerned about



   Cato Joumnal, Vol. 36, No. 1 (Winter 2016). Copyright © Cato Institute. All rights
reserved.
   Benjamin Scafidi is Professor of Economics and Director of the Education
Economics Center in the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University.
The author thanks Joshua Hall, Jason Taylor, and an anonymous referee for helpful
comments. This article draws heavily from the author's two Friedman Foundation
for Educational Choice publications (Scafidi 2012b, 2013).

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