Education Suffering from Baumol's Cost Disease

This was forwarded to me by a very smart friend.

Center on Reinventing Public Education. Paul Hill and Marguerite Roza. July 2010.

I think it’s worth passing around:

In this report, Hill and Roza suggest that our K-12 education system suffers from Baumol’s [Cost] disease: the tendency of labor-intensive organizations to become more expensive and less productive over time. As evidence, the authors cite the rising costs of schooling (especially teacher salaries and increased numbers of school district employees) combined with stagnant, unsatisfactory results for too many students. The report then points to other sectors that have overcome the disease through strategic advances in productivity, such as information technology, increased supply chain efficiency, and carefully designed workforce policies. The authors propose a five-step plan to cure Baumol’s disease in our public education system: examine strategies used in other sectors, zero in on learning systems outside schools to uncover alternatives to traditional modes of schooling, understand the key cost drivers in current schooling and the effect on those drivers in proposed alternatives, test alternative models outside of traditional education finance formulas, and create policy agendas that identify and replicate promising alternatives.

Download the report here.

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

Discover the latest in learning innovations

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.