An estimation of technical efficiency for Florida public elementary schools
We use a frontier production function estimation technique to analyze whether elementary schools in Florida are operating at an efficient level and to explain any inefficiencies. A motivation for this analysis comes from recent state and federal level educational initiatives designed to improve school accountability and reduce class sizes. Results presented here indicate that while Florida elementary schools are not operating at efficient levels (with regional mean inefficiency estimates in the 4.1-5.1% range), they compare favorably to published results for other states. One factor associated with higher inefficiency is student promotion rates--something which does lie within the purview of school administrators and may have important policy implications. However, other factors associated with higher inefficiency (percent free-lunch eligible, higher crime and violence, higher suspension rates and not having a parent-teacher organization) are indicators of conditions that lie largely beyond the direct control of public schools, casting doubt on the effectiveness of recent accountability measures to improve efficiency.
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