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Public Sector Structural Change in K-12 Education: Part 1

Fall 2013 MBA Course

B8547-001: Public Sector Structural Change in K-12 Education: Part 1

- 10:09AM to 10:09AM
Location: On-Campus (Please see description)

Instructor: James Liebman

This course is cross-listed with the Law School, and provides an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in education reform policy and practice, and to work on a consulting project that will help design a performance-management strategy for a public school system. It will be scheduled for a time convenient for students admitted to it. The class will have students from other graduate schools at Columbia, with 6 seats reserved for Columbia Business School students.

The course takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding what conceptual, structural and organizational changes are taking place in public K-12 organizations, and teams will also work on a project for a public-sector entity that is participating in these changes. Topics covered include: institutional design, labor relations and accountability; statistical and qualitative approaches to assessment, diagnostic monitoring and the identification of effective practices; horizontal (site-to-site) distribution of knowledge; tensions between local autonomy and centrally enforced accountability, incentives and learning as disciplining devices, rules and standards, supervision versus facilitation as middle-management strategies, design and implementation, and input- and outcomes-oriented conceptions of fairness and success.

This class will be taught by James Liebman, the Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, and former Chief Accountability Officer New York City Department of Education.

Acceptance in the Public-Sector Structural Reform Part 1 (fall, pre-requisite for Part 2) and Part 2 (spring) courses is by application, with a follow up interview. If you are admitted to these courses, you will be asked to commit to take both (and your grade in the fall course will depend on completion of the spring course); these will be added to the courses you will see in BOSS. To apply for these courses, please email a resume and a short statement of interest (1 page or less). Interviews will be scheduled for first year students in the spring who wish to take these courses next academic year. The criteria for selection is described in the syllabus.

If you have any questions, you may contact Professor James Liebman at


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