Successful organizations monitor their operations extensively and intensively. UPS and FedEx know where every package is in transit. Dell is famous for running an extremely tight supply chain, pushing the cost of holding inventory onto its suppliers by ordering only what it needs when it needs it. Baseball teams employ sophisticated statistical analyses in making personnel decisions.
Yet, few school districts understand their true costs of recruiting a new teacher. Few can determine whether one professional developer is more cost-effective than another. Few can reliably assess the efficacy of particular programs or staff.
Frederick M. Hess is a resident scholar and the director of education policy at AEI. Jon Fullerton is executive director of the Project for Policy Innovation in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.