The Productivity Trend of K-12 Public Schools is Even Worse
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 highlights 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 productivity 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 conversion of individual public schools into autonomous, employee-owned enterprises.