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Clive Belfield, (917) 821-9219,
Dan Quinn, (517) 203-2940,

Texas efficiency report requires more evidence
Report offers expanded definition of efficiency

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Feb. 27, 2014) – The Texas state Constitution mandates an "efficient system of public free schools." A recent report from the George W. Bush Institute examines the extent to which the Texas education system is efficient. An academic review released today finds the paper to be of limited use for policymakers and educational professionals and calls for a more comprehensive and rigorous analysis of efficiency.

The report, A Legal Lever for Enhancing Productivity, written by Elizabeth Ettema, Krishanu Sengupta, and Sandy Kress, uses a five-factor definition of efficiency to determine that the Texas education system is unlikely to be efficient or cannot demonstrate efficiency. Dr. Clive Belfield of Queens College, City University of New York reviewed the report for the Think Twice think tank review project. The review was produced by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The authors of the report investigate efficiency in key areas of the Texas education system: (1) teacher training; (2) teacher evaluation; (3) teacher pay-setting; and (4) use of instructional materials.

Overall, Belfield notes that the authors should be commended for bringing the concept of x-efficiency – a theoretical framework that is more expansive than the basic economic definition of efficiency – and placing it front and center in their evaluation of the Texas education system. However, the authors fail to prove that the Texas education system is not efficient.

Despite a strong literature review and multiple evidentiary sources, the report's analysis of the evidentiary sources is not persuasive.

In his conclusion, Belfield says that it would be better if policymakers and education professionals applied the more expansive interpretation of efficiency displayed in this report.  However, he cautions "because x-efficiency is a more comprehensive concept it requires more evidence and analysis in order to draw conclusions than was provided here."

Find this Think Twice Review on the Great Lakes Center website:

Find A Legal Lever for Enhancing Productivity on the web:

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

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