It’s not exactly news that America’s school systems are facing their greatest fiscal challenges since the Great Depression. For the first time in decades, real per pupil spending will decline this year, forcing school districts to make painful budget choices—providing fewer services with their diminished resources. Or so goes the conventional wisdom. Is it possible, on the other hand, that this economic downturn could be seized as an opportunity to rethink how education is delivered and to find approaches that are dramatically more affordable—and effective? Nate Levenson thinks so. He’s the managing director of the District Management Council, a former superintendent in Arlington, Massachusetts, and a former business executive. He joins the Ed Next book club today to talk about his book, Smarter Budgets, Smarter Schools: How to Survive and Thrive in Tight Times—and the reception it’s received to date.

Additional installments of our Ed Next Book Club podcast can be heard here.

Last updated October 19, 2012