Everyone has opinions on education and everyone thinks that their opinions represent the best interests of the community. North Carolina like many other areas is looking for the best value for their revenues and the State legislature (Republican) feels that if it restricts funding, then inefficiencies will be squeezed out of the system by virtue of some form of budget Darwinism. Unfortunately (like many other Government Departments in N.C. and the U.K.) the thinking stops there and that’s when the inexorable law of unintended consequences kicks in.
The major inefficiencies in education derive from:
- Bureaucratic hierarchy and control
- Inflexible structures at the chalk face
- Misdirected resources
Turkeys do not vote for Christmas so we should not expect the school administrative systems to voluntary devise ways of making themselves more efficient and more focused on achieving continually improving results. Given the unfettered ability to make choices the educational administrative system will pick the low hanging fruit and cull school crossing wardens, teaching assistants and catering budgets. Thus there is a focus on budgets and not on community outcomes. This is the lesson learned by Suffolk County Council. Following the wake-up call of being one step off the bottom of County Educational Performance tables we introduced the Raising the Bar initiative in 2013. Just a few years later we are 107th out of 151 in the league tables. Although, this is still not where we want to be, we are going forward because at County level we recognize that you can’t have decent paying jobs unless the educational infrastructure is in place.