CPRE : Consortium for Policy Research in Education

Strategic Management of Human Capital in Public Education

Our goals are to improve the quality of classroom instruction and student outcomes in K-12 classrooms by radically improving the strategic management of teaching and instructional leadership talent – human capital – in public school districts.To accomplish these goals, we will conduct case studies to document the impact of SMHC reforms in six places: 1) New York City; 2) Chicago; 3) Boston; 4) Long Beach, CA; 5) Fairfax County, VA; and 6) the state of Minnesota’s “QComp” program. What we hope to learn in these case studies is more about the key SMHC practices and initiatives for teachers & principals in each site. The key practices and initiatives may include:

  • An instructional improvement strategy
  • Uses of student data that help improve classroom instruction
  • Recruitment strategies
  • Selection processes
  • Placement strategies
  • Induction/Mentoring programs
  • Performance management including evaluation of teachers and principals
  • Professional development practices
  • Strategic use of compensation for teachers and principals

We also want to learn more about how these human capital innovations were designed and implemented, including both factors that enabled and hindered this process. We will examine organizational and political factors, including governance issues, the organizational structure of the district, fiscal capacity, human capital/talent capacity, the teacher contract, the labor-management relationship, outside funding, and political pressure or support. Documenting these practices and the effects they have had at key sites is an important strategy for this initiative, and the information we gather will be shared with the Task Force, highlighted on our website, distributed through our network, and presented at an annual national conference. Through all of these means, we hope to help urban public school districts manage their human capital strategically, and establish SMHC as an essential and high-priority educational reform in the U.S., so that classroom instruction can be improved and all students can achieve the learning goals set for them.


  • SMHC released a number of case studies at the first Strategic Management of Human Capital (SMHC) National Conference, which took place Nov. 18-19, 2008, in Washington, DC. Together, the case studies identify successful school districts and programs that use talent management practices and the specific steps they took to implement them.
  • All other SMHC National Conference presentations are available at
  • A cross-case analysis is available that identifies common threads across five districts, including how urban districts can recruit top quality teachers and principals by deploying a multifaceted human resources strategy.
  • SMHC's second annual national conference took place from November 3-4, 2009 in Washington D.C. To view presentations and materials related to the conference, please visit:

Co-Directors: Allan Odden (University of Wisconsin-Madison); James Kelly (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Research Team: Sarah Archibald (University of Wisconsin-Madison); Margaret Goertz (University of Pennsylvania); Herbert Henemen (University of Wisconsin-Madison); Steve Kimball (University of Wisconsin-Madison); Julia Koppich (Education Consultant); Anthony Milwanowski (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Sponsoring Agencies: Carnegie Corporation of New York, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and The Joyce Foundation

Start date: 
June 2011
End date: 
December 2012