21 Aug 2015

Efficient and Effective

Efficient and Effective

The Topeka Capital Journal published an article about a Kansas Legislative committee tasked with reviewing the grant requests received from 38 school districts seeking additional aid based on “extraordinary need”.  The panel sent letters to the 38 school districts asking them to produce 5 district examples where they have increased “efficiencies” to improve outcomes in the classroom.

The devil is in the detail.  The article did not provide the Legislative Panel’s definition of “efficiencies”.  The more appropriate word would be effective.  Efficient implies the cheapest cost whereas effective should be the goal when it comes to their request for 5 examples on “improve outcomes in the classroom”.  Even better would be asking for the most effective and efficient practices the district employed that showed improved student outcomes.  If their stated intent is to develop a list of impactful practices they can scale to other districts in the state why include the efficient?  Efficient should be linked and defined by effective.  For example, if I was a superintendent in Healy, KS and I had a reading intervention program that cost me more due to costs associated with attracting qualified staff to live in Healy than the identical program in another school district where staffing costs were less does that mean Healy’s program is less efficient?  It would if the only determining factor was total cost but in this example both districts are efficient.

The superintendent from the Hutchinson School District, Shelly Kiblinger, was quoted as wanting to ask the legislators to do the same thing the school districts are being asked to do to be considered for the aid.  That is a fair request.  It would support a representative, accountable and transparent  democratic practice.

The Kansas Legislator is asking school districts to provide a list of efficient and effective school practices from 38 state school districts seeking aid for “extraordinary need”.  To approach a review from simply a view point of efficient practices without effective results would be inappropriate.


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