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The 2008-2009 economic tsunami has slashed tax collections, squeezing government and forcing public agencies to search out cost savings. The nation’s K-12 schools, which depend upon $600 billion in local, state, and federal funding, have been buffeted by declining revenues after decades of steady increases. A National Council of State Legislators report found that half of the states are anticipating a cumulative shortfall of $144.8 billion for the fiscal year 2010. How can they weather this storm and prepare themselves for even leaner times? Where might they find cost savings? Are there alternatives to simply cutting back educational programs or laying off teachers? The pressures are not likely to alleviate anytime soon but will only intensify in the years ahead as stagnant real estate values depress local and state revenues, as new federal initiatives and historic deficits squeeze federal spending, as one-time stimulus funding recedes, and as an aging and retiring teaching force creates greater pension obligations for states and districts. Not only is cost cutting essential in this era of constrained resources, but eliminating inefficient spending is also a critical step in freeing up the resources to drive reform and fuel school improvement.

Unfortunately, there are few visible or successful precedents for significant belt tightening, restructuring, and reorganizing in K-12 schooling. Yet, news accounts tend to celebrate new initiatives and bemoan any reductions in spending, and there is little research examining how best practices from other sectors might be applied to schools. AEI resident scholar and director of education policy studies Frederick M. Hess and Thomas B. Fordham Institute vice president Eric Osberg have commissioned ten papers to explore how schools can save money and enhance student achievement by overcoming the particular forces and factors that make effective cost cutting difficult. At this cosponsored event, the authors of the studies presented their findings and discussed them with expert practitioners.


Agenda




Speaker biographies

Michael Casserly has served as executive director of the Council of Great City Schools, the nation’s primary coalition of large urban public school systems, since January 1992. Before assuming this position, Mr. Casserly served as the organization’s director of legislation and research for fifteen years. He is currently spearheading efforts to boost academic performance in the nation’s big city schools, strengthening management and operations, challenging inequitable state financing systems, and improving the public’s image of urban education. Mr. Casserly has also written numerous studies, reports, and op-eds on urban schools, including “Beating the Odds,” the nation’s first look at urban school performance on state tests. His legislative work has been the subject of a college textbook on how Capitol Hill really works. He is considered one of Washington’s best education advocates and lobbyists and an expert on urban education, governance, finance, and federal legislation and policy. Washington Almanac listed Mr. Casserly as one of Washington, D.C.’s four hundred most powerful individuals, and USA Today calls him a “crusader” for city schoolchildren. Mr. Casserly is a U.S. Army veteran.

Stacey Childress is a senior lecturer in the General Management Unit at Harvard Business School and a cofounder of the Public Education Leadership Project at Harvard University. Ms. Childress studies entrepreneurial activity in public education in the United States. This includes the behavior and strategies of leadership teams in urban public school districts, charter schools, and nonprofit and for-profit enterprises with missions to improve the public system. She is also interested more generally in a range of social enterprise topics, including international social entrepreneurship. She has authored more than two dozen case studies about large urban districts and entrepreneurial education ventures and is the coauthor of the Harvard Business Review article “How to Manage Urban Districts.” Ms. Childress is also a coeditor of the book Managing School Districts for High Performance: Cases in Public Education Leadership (Harvard Education Press, November 2007). Before working in academia, Ms. Childress was a cofounder of an enterprise software company and spent ten years in a Fortune 500 company in sales and general management. Early in her career, she taught in a Texas public high school.

John E. Chubb is chief development officer and senior executive vice president of EdisonLearning, which he helped found in 1992. EdisonLearning is the nation’s leading education reform company, working typically with disadvantaged communities to create innovative charter schools, to turn around underperforming public schools, and to bring online educational solutions to schools and families. Prior to assuming his current role in 2008, Mr. Chubb served as EdisonLearning’s chief education officer. Before joining EdisonLearning, Mr. Chubb was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a professor at Stanford University. He currently is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a member of Hoover’s task force on K–12 education. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education, with Terry M. Moe (Jossey-Bass, 2009); Learning From No Child Left Behind (Hoover, 2009); Within Our Reach: How America Can Educate Every Child (Rowman and Littlefield, 2005); Closing the Achievement Gap, with Tom Loveless (Brookings, 2001); and Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools, with Terry M. Moe (Brookings, 1990). His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Education Next, The Public Interest, and the American Political Science Review, among other publications. Mr. Chubb has served as an adviser to the White House, numerous state governments, and public and private schools and school systems.

Lily Eskelsen, an elementary teacher from Utah, is vice president of the National Education Association (NEA). She is one of the highest-ranking labor leaders in the country and one of its most influential Hispanic educators. After teaching for only nine years, she was named Utah Teacher of the Year in 1989, and she used that title as a platform to speak out against the dismal funding of Utah schools. The following year, she was elected president of the Utah Education Association, her first elected position in the association. She has also served on the NEA Executive Committee and as NEA secretary treasurer. Ms. Eskelsen was president of the Utah State Retirement System and president of the Children at Risk Foundation and was a member of the White House Strategy Session on Improving Hispanic Education. She has built alliances with parents, business and civil rights organizations, and advocates for the disabled and the poor. She works with coalitions to engage the public in the political process, and in 1998, she ran for political office herself as the first Hispanic to be chosen as her party’s nominee for U.S. Congress in Utah, raising close to $1 million and taking 45 percent of the vote against the incumbent. She has been featured on Fox News Channel’s Hannity and Colmes and CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight. For twenty years, she worked with students from kindergarten to sixth grade in the middle-class suburbs of Salt Lake and its one-room shelter school.

Reginald H. Gilyard joined the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in 1996 and is a core leader in the firm’s education practice. He currently serves as partner and managing director. He has worked with private and public sector clients. His experience in the education sector has included developing a strategic plan to improve teacher effectiveness in the Prince George’s County, Maryland, school system and leading efforts to support the New Orleans Recovery School District in opening thirty-four post-Katrina public schools. He also led the development of various strategic plans for the Los Angeles Unified School District, Seattle Public Schools, and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Prior to joining BCG, Mr. Gilyard was a project manager in the U.S. Air Force, where he led USAF officers and civilian defense contract professionals in the development, production, and fielding of logistics and intelligence systems.

James Guthrie is a senior fellow at the George W. Bush Institute and professor of public policy and education at Southern Methodist University. Previously, he was the Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy and director of the Peabody Center for Education Policy at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, where he conducted research on education policy and finance. He is founder and chairman of the board of Management Analysis and Planning, Inc., a private sector management consulting firm specializing in public finance and litigation support. He was previously a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, for twenty-seven years. Mr. Guthrie has been a consultant to the governments of Armenia, Australia, Chile, Guyana, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Romania, and South Africa and has had extensive experience in consulting for the World Bank; the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization; and the Organization of American States. He is the author or coauthor of fourteen books and more than two hundred professional and scholarly articles. He is past president of the American Education Finance Association and served as editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of American Education, published in 2002, and as editor of the ten-volume Peabody Education Leadership Series.

Frederick M. Hess, AEI’s director of education policy studies, is an educator, political scientist, and author. At AEI, Mr. Hess studies a range of K–12 and higher education issues. He has authored influential books such as Education Unbound (ASCD Books, February 2010), Common Sense School Reform (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Revolution at the Margins (Brookings, 2002), and Spinning Wheels (Brookings, 1998). A former public high school social studies teacher, he has also taught education and policy at universities including Georgetown, Harvard, Rice, the University of Virginia, and the University of Pennsylvania. He is executive editor of Education Next and a faculty associate with Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance. He serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and for the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence as well as on the review board for the Broad Prize in Urban Education.

William R. Hite Jr. was named superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) in April 2009 after serving as interim superintendent since December 1, 2008. Mr. Hite has led major efforts resulting in increased student achievement, significant improvements in teaching and learning, and school improvement status. This included work on the Intensive Support and Intervention Schools that provided significant support to schools most in need based on student and school performance indicators. Most recently, he oversaw a major reorganization of the district’s regions into zones to reduce cost and provide greater support to schools. He developed systems that measure central leadership effectiveness against student and school performance. PGCPS has been recognized nationally during Mr. Hite’s tenure. Previously, Mr. Hite was an assistant superintendent in Georgia’s Cobb County School District, where he provided support for the 103,000 students enrolled and supervised elementary, middle, and high school principals. Mr. Hite has been an adjunct faculty member at the University of Richmond School of Continuous Learning and has taught school leadership courses at Virginia State University, Bowie State University, and the University of Maryland. He is a member of numerous national, state, and local boards and has participated with national agencies and associations to reform K–12 education. 

Kartik Jayaram is a partner in McKinsey & Company’s Chicago office. Since joining the firm in 2000, he has worked with a broad range of clients, including social sector, public sector, high-tech, and industrial clients. Before settling into the Chicago office, Mr. Jayaram spent time in Asia and Europe, primarily working in McKinsey’s Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Paris offices. Mr. Jayaram is a leader in McKinsey’s Social Sector Office, focusing on education and economic development. He has served global foundations, multilateral institutions, K–12 school districts, charter and turnaround operators, universities, and private sector companies. His recent work in education includes initiatives to develop performance-management systems, drive financial and operational efficiencies, improve student attendance, and develop organization and talent-management strategies for education institutions. Prior to McKinsey, he taught business statistics at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dwight Jones was appointed Colorado’s commissioner of education in June 2007, continuing a career in public education that he started as an elementary school teacher in Junction City, Kansas. He has been principal for elementary, middle, and high schools in Wichita, Kansas, and assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in Wichita and in Fountain, Colorado, where he later became superintendent of the Fountain-Fort Carson School District. Mr. Jones also served as operational vice president for Edison Schools, overseeing eleven schools in Kansas, Missouri, and Maryland. Under his guidance, the Colorado Department of Education has refocused its efforts on serving and supporting the field, partnering with schools and districts on various initiatives, and striving to direct resources and intervention strategies to the districts with the most need. Mr. Jones has served on a number of governor-appointed commissions and at present serves on the Southwest Comprehensive Center’s advisory board, the boards of Denver’s Children’s Hospital, McREL, High School Futures, and the Colorado Council on the Arts. He cochairs the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Teacher Effectiveness and is a member of the Education Commission of the States steering committee.

June Kronholz is a Washington, D.C.–based writer. She previously worked for the Wall Street Journal as a foreign correspondent in London, Africa, South Asia, the Philippines, and Hong Kong; as the Journal‘s bureau chief in Boston and deputy bureau chief in Washington; and as a Journal reporter in Washington, where she covered education for a decade.

Nathan Levenson has spent much of his career in the private sector, as a strategic planning management consultant, as the owner of a midsized company that manufactured highly engineered machinery, and as a turnaround consultant helping struggling firms. A passion for public education led to a career switch, which included six years as a school board member, working as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in Harvard, Massachusetts, and most recently as superintendent of Arlington Public Schools in Massachusetts. Mr. Levenson was hired as a change agent in Arlington during a turbulent time in a divided community. He oversaw all academic and operational aspects of a district with nine schools and a budget of over $50 million. He helped create and champion an intensive reading program that reduced the number of students reading below grade level by 52 percent and revamped special education services that led to a 24 percent improvement in academic achievement in English and math. By redesigning the district’s budgeting, custodial, financial accounting, and leadership structure, the district saved $1.5 million. A multipronged effort to deliver special education services more cost effectively also saved over $3 million. During his leadership, Arlington Public Schools built partnerships with local nonprofits to provide—at little or no cost—nearly $1 million per year of social services.

Lane McBride is a principal based in the Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) Washington, D.C., office. He has been with BCG since 2003. Mr. McBride has managed education projects at the state and local level encompassing a variety of topics, including transformation strategy, performance management, teacher effectiveness, and cost efficiency. Through these efforts, Mr. McBride has extensive experience working with education stakeholders, including students, teachers, administrators, unions, foundations, charter schools, other nonprofits, and the private sector. Mr. McBride’s experience outside education includes work in consumer goods and retail with a particular focus on qualitative and quantitative consumer research.

Michele McLaughlin is vice president of federal and state policy for Teach For America, where she leads state policy work that is focused primarily on teacher licensure and certification issues and provides policy expertise to the government affairs team on federal education policy. She also manages relationships with a wide range of national policy and education associations for the public affairs team. Prior to joining Teach For America, Ms. McLaughlin was the associate director in the Educational Issues Department at the American Federation of Teachers, where she shepherded their policy work on the No Child Left Behind Act. Ms. McLaughlin also served as a program and policy analyst at the New Jersey Department of Education and was previously a Catholic school teacher in New York City and Quito, Ecuador.

Eric Osberg is the vice president and treasurer of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. He is also a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is primarily responsible for financial and managerial issues at Fordham and also works on policy projects related to school finance. From 1997 to 2000, Mr. Osberg worked for Capital One Financial in Vienna, Virginia, where he helped develop the company’s telecommunications line of business, America One.

Michael Podgursky is a professor of economics at the University of Missouri, Columbia, where he served as department chair from 1995 to 2005. His research focuses on the economics of education. He has written many articles in the area, with a primary focus on teacher labor markets and teacher compensation. He serves on the board of editors of Education Finance and Policy and the Peabody Journal of Education, on advisory boards for various statistical agencies and research institutes, and as coinvestigator at the Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research at the Urban Institute and the National Center for Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University, two national research centers funded by the Institute on Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education.

Jamal Powell is a principal in the Atlanta office of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). He is a core member of BCG’s social impact practice network and consumer practice area. He has extensive experience working with clients across the education landscape, including state education authorities, public school districts, charter school authorizers, and education advocacy organizations. His work within the education sector has included working with the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board to revise their performance management framework as well as leading strategy development and implementation planning efforts to transform the Dallas Independent School District (Dallas Achieves), including central office cost reduction and development of performance management and accountability systems. Mr. Powell has also developed a comprehensive teacher-effectiveness strategy for the School District of Palm Beach County and assisted in the transformation of the New Orleans public school system post-Katrina. Mr. Powell previously spent three years in investment banking with Morgan Stanley, where he worked in the real estate division. During his time at Morgan Stanley, Mr. Powell also spent one year abroad in Asia, based in Tokyo, traveling throughout the region. Mr. Powell also participates as a member of the Managing for Excellence Committee for the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

Marguerite Roza serves as a research associate professor with the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington. Ms. Roza’s research focuses on education spending and productivity. Recent research has produced fiscal projections of the effect of the recession on education. Additionally, her work has documented the real-dollar implications of education policies once realized inside schools and across schools within districts. Her calculations of dollar implications and cost-equivalent trade-offs have prompted changes in education finance policy at all levels in the education system. Her work has been published by Education Sector, the Brookings Institution, Education Next, and the Peabody Journal of Education. She served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy teaching thermodynamics at the Naval Nuclear Power School.

Michael R. Sandler coined the term “education industry” and is considered one of the industry’s founding fathers. A lifelong entrepreneur, he has built a career both in business and education. He established Eduventures, Inc., in 1993 after founding and selling several successful businesses, including Marsan Industries (which merged with ITT Corporation) and Auto Parts Distributors (which was sold to Rite-Aid Corporation). In 1989, Mr. Sandler served as a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he conducted research on the contributions of the private sector to education. Mr. Sandler has served as a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and as an overseer of its School of Arts and Sciences. He was the founder of A Different September Foundation, an organization that supported the Boston University/Chelsea Public Schools Partnership. He is also president of the Education Industry Foundation. In 2006 and 2007, Mr. Sandler was an executive-in-residence at the University of Southern California, exploring business and education issues as they relate to access to capital and career opportunities in the education industry. Currently, Mr. Sandler is chairman and chief executive officer of the Education Industry Group, an advisory company supporting social entrepreneurship in education.

José M. Torres was named superintendent of school district U-46 in July 2008. U-46 is Illinois’s second-largest school district with fifty-three schools serving over 41,000 students in eleven different communities in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Prior to joining U-46, Mr. Torres served as a regional superintendent for Area 14 in the Chicago Public Schools, where he oversaw twenty-five schools with over 14,000 students. In Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland, Mr. Torres saw dramatic results in academic achievement across the board in reading and mathematics during his tenure as assistant superintendent of student support services. In that role, he was responsible for the special education, alternative education, pupil services, and human relations departments. Before joining Anne Arundel, Mr. Torres was superintendent of the San Ysidro School District near the Mexico border in San Diego County. Mr. Torres is a 2005 Broad Fellow.

Martin West is an assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He also serves as an executive editor of Education Next, a journal of opinion and research on education policy; is deputy director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University; and is an affiliate of the CESifo Research Network. Before joining the Harvard faculty, Mr. West taught at Brown University and was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Steven F. Wilson is founder and president of Ascend Learning, a charter school management organization in New York City, and a senior fellow at Education Sector in Washington, D.C. He is a former executive vice president for product development at Edison Schools and senior fellow at the Center for Business and Government of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His most recent book, Learning on the Job: When Business Takes on Public Schools, examines the first decade of private management of public schools and was awarded the Virginia and Warren Stone Prize. Mr. Wilson founded and served as chief executive officer of Advantage Schools, an urban charter school management company. Prior to founding Advantage, he was special assistant for strategic planning for Massachusetts governor William Weld. He advised the governor on education policy during the passage and implementation of the state’s 1993 comprehensive education reform act. He also oversaw the administration’s privatization programs and drafted the governor’s plan to reorganize state government. Mr. Wilson is the former executive director of the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research. His first book, Reinventing the Schools: A Radical Plan for Boston, led to the establishment of Massachusetts’s charter school law, which Mr. Wilson drafted.


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