Russ Roberts

Making Schools Better: A Conversation with Rick Hanushek

EconTalk Episode with Eric Hanushek
Hosted by Russ Roberts
Barro on Growth... Cogan on Improving the Health ...

Russ Roberts and Rick Hanushek, of Stanford University, talk about why the standard reforms such as more spending or better educated teachers have failed and what needs to be done in the future.

Size: 7.9 MB
Right-click or Option-click, and select "Save Link/Target As MP3.

Readings and Links related to this podcast

Podcast Readings
  • About educational spending over time:
  • About the failure of spending and smaller class size to improve test scores:
  • About the importance of teacher quality:
  • About the economics of education

  • COMMENTS (2 to date)
    CalcaMutin writes:

    My favorite teachers have always been hated by the rest of my class-mates, because they gave out bad grades and tried to challenge the students too much. (Unfortunately?) I grew up to be a teacher myself and I often find myself challenging my students and hanging bad grades over their heads: I'm not very popular. My evaluations are very polarized, some are grateful and appreciate my teaching style, others absolutely hate it. In a more market oriented system, will teachers still be confortable in challenging students who don't want to be challenged?

    John Henry writes:

    Another great podcast. I love them all but this was good because education is a particular interest of mine.

    I have an MBA (1979) and taught as an adjunct in Southern New Hampshire University's MBA program from 1982-2004. In 2001 SNHU opened a program leading to an MS in Business Education at my campus. I thought it might do me some good so enrolled, completing my degree in 2004.

    I was amazed at the lack of rigorousness in the Ed program. Where I was required to give 1 test in the business program and "encouraged" to give 2, I took no tests at all, not one test, quiz or exam, in the ed program. It was mainly a question of sitting through classes and turning in relatively simple papers.

    Frankly it was a complete waste of time. The main thing it did was give me some ammunition to use in arguing that ed schools should be burned to the ground for the good of education.

    Listening to your podcast, I realized the point of graduate ed schools. They do not exist to make teachers better. They exist:

    1) As a source of revenue for their schools

    2) As a means of increasing pay to public school teachers. Many districts automatically increase pay of teachers holding master's degrees. The amount of the increase is perhaps not enough to motivate someone to go through a rigorous program. However, if they don't have to do any work, it then becomes worth it. Since it is generally paid for by the govt, the degree is "free"

    3) It makes public schools look better. They can say things like "25% of our faculty have master's degrees!!" and many people will believe that says something positive about the quality of the staff.

    I'd like to hear more podcasts about education.

    John Henry

    Comments for this podcast episode have been closed
    Return to top