Making Schools Better: A Conversation with Rick Hanushek
Jul 24 2006

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.

Eric Hanushek on Teachers
Eric Hanushek of Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the importance of teacher quality in education. Hanushek argues that the standard measures of quality--experience and advanced degrees--are uncorrelated with student performance. But some teachers consistently...
Eric Hanushek on Education and Prosperity
Eric Hanushek of Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book, Endangering Prosperity (co-authored with Paul Peterson and Ludger Woessmann). Hanushek argues that America's educational system is mediocre relative to other school systems around...
Explore audio transcript, further reading that will help you delve deeper into this week’s episode, and vigorous conversations in the form of our comments section below.


Jul 24 2006 at 10:27pm

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
Aug 6 2006 at 10:02am

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

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