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Harness the Experts:

Contractors in Education

· Ideas,Innovation,Consulting

Our schools are arguably our single best delivery mechanism for education in this country; we gather experts under one roof and leverage each of their specific areas of specialization to the benefit of every student. This both lowers the cost of educating individual students and increases the efficiency of academic services. In economics terms, this is known as Economies of Scale. However, schools also try to provide for themselves services in areas where they have no specific expertise or advantage, such as accounting, IT, human resources, marketing, and other administrative functions. While schools are well oiled machines when it comes to providing education, they are inefficient when it comes to managing an organization.

Local, State, and Federal government face the same challenge. For example, the State Department may possess leading experts in diplomacy, but that does not mean the diplomatic corps will possess the same in-house expertise when it comes to capital planning or managing payroll. Recognizing their comparative advantages and weaknesses, government contracts its administrative functions to private sector experts at companies that specialize in each given type of organizational management. Government has found that hiring contract teams from expert companies in place of staffing each niche area of administration significantly saves costs in staffing, promotes freedom to switch between providers more easily than making staffing changes, and maximizes quality within the administrative function performed.

Why is it that schools hire individuals to fill highly specialized positions while the market is teeming with expert companies available to contract? Schools must take advantage of the private sector where they can help us so that we can go back to focusing solely on what we do best.

We are curious to know what the educational community thinks of this idea. Please take a moment and answer these three questions. Our next newsletter will showcase and address the survey results.

If you’re interested in learning more about how SET has implemented this model for edtech and IT, please email us at

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