Thu. Nov 30th, 2023
Little’s Law and Educational Inequality: A Comparative Case Study of Teacher Workaround ProductivityLittle’s Law and Educational Inequality: A Comparative Case Study of Teacher Workaround Productivity


In this research, we investigate a common staff workaround in K-12 schools: compensating for limited funds through partnerships with nonprofit organizations (NPOs). From an equity standpoint, we ask the following questions. (i) How do partner workarounds differ between schools of varying socioeconomic status?

(ii) What can leaders in education and non-profit organizations do to guarantee that these workarounds do not worsen educational inequities? We utilize Little’s Law to address these questions:

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The long-run average number of resource-supplementing partnerships (L) of a school is determined by its average yearly partnership formation rate () and partnership cycle time (W). We gather and analyze data from six intentionally picked schools with varying degrees of socioeconomic advantage to examine disparities in and W and explore the consequences for educational fairness. We discovered that wealthy schools had higher, which makes them more productive.

We also discover that schools have equal W regardless of income, but this problematically magnifies disparities. The disparity in partnered productivity results in educational disparities.

We discover that poorer schools report around 35% more utility per relationship, but this is insufficient to compensate for the disadvantage of fewer partnerships. Furthermore, we show that variations in partnering productivity are especially considerable for curricular partnerships, which are more difficult to build for poorer schools due to the increased need for wrap-around relationships. Our findings add to our understanding of workarounds that enhance organizational resources, as well as the link between workarounds and equity.

This paper was accepted by  Zeeshan shah operations management.

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