Eric A. Hanushek

    Author Website:

    Author Bio:
    Eric Hanushek is the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. He has been a leader in the development of economic analysis of educational issues. His research spans such diverse areas as the impacts of teacher quality, high stakes accountability, and class size reduction on achievement and the role of cognitive skills in international growth and development. His pioneering analysis measuring teacher quality through student achievement forms the basis for current research into the value-added of teachers and schools. His newest book, Endangering Prosperity: A Global View of the American School (2013), describes the economic implications of continued low performance of our school. A previous book, Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses: Solving the Funding-Achievement Puzzle in America's Public Schools (2009), describes how improved school finance policies can be used to meet our achievement goals. Prior books include Courting Failure, the Handbook on the Economics of Education, The Economics of Schooling and School Quality Improving America’s Schools, Making Schools Work, Educational Performance of the Poor, Education and Race, Modern Political Economy, Improving Information for Social Policy Decisions, and Statistical Methods for Social Scientists, along with numerous widely-cited articles in professional journals. He previously held academic appointments at the University of Rochester, Yale University, and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Government service includes being chair of the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences, Deputy Director of the Congressional Budget Office, and Senior Staff Economist at the Council of Economic Advisers. He is a member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow of the International Academy of Education, the Society of Labor Economists and the American Education Research Association. He was awarded the Fordham Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in 2004. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and completed his Ph.D. in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


The Achievement Gap Fails to Close

Half century of testing shows persistent divide between haves and have-nots

SUMMER 2019 / VOL. 19, NO. 3

Do Smarter Teachers Make Smarter Students?

International evidence on teacher cognitive skills and student performance

SPRING 2019 / VOL. 19, NO. 2

It Pays to Improve School Quality

States that boost student achievement could reap large economic gains

Summer 2016 / Vol. 16, No. 3

What Matters for Student Achievement

Updating Coleman on the influence of families and schools

Spring 2016 / Vol. 16, No. 2

U.S. Students from Educated Families Lag in International Tests

It’s not just about kids in poor neighborhoods

FALL 2014 / VOL. 14, NO. 4

Evidence-based Debates on Teacher Quality

The world of education is moving steadily toward reliance on evidence, even with the possibility for misinterpretation.

School Leaders Matter

Measuring the impact of effective principals

Winter 2013 / Vol. 13, No. 1

Is the U.S. Catching Up?

International and state trends in student achievement

FALL 2012 / VOL. 12, NO. 4

Grinding the Antitesting Ax

More bias than evidence behind NRC panel’s conclusions

SPRING 2012 / VOL. 12, NO. 2

Are U.S. Students Ready to Compete?

The latest on each state’s international standing

Fall 2011 / Vol. 11, No. 4

Valuing Teachers

How much is a good teacher worth?

Summer 2011 / Vol. 11, No. 3

Teaching Math to the Talented

Which countries—and states—are producing high-achieving students?

Winter 2011 / Vol. 11, No. 1

An Effective Teacher in Every Classroom

A lofty goal, but how to do it?

Summer 2010 / Vol. 10, No. 3

Total Student Load

Review of William Ouchi’s The Secret of TSL

Spring 2010 / Vol. 10, No. 2

Many Schools Are Still Inadequate, Now What?

Is court involvement in school spending essential to reform, or can we use education funding to drive reforms that promise better outcomes for students?

Fall 2009 / Vol. 9, No. 4

Education and Economic Growth

It’s not just going to school, but learning something while there that matters

Spring 2008 / Vol. 8, No. 2

The Confidence Men

Selling adequacy, making millions

Summer 2007 / Vol. 7, No. 3

RAND versus RAND

What Do Test Scores in Texas Tell Us? by Stephen P. Klein et al.

Spring 2001 / Vol. 1, No. 1

Deconstructing RAND

Improving Student Achievement: What NAEP State Test Scores Tell Us by David W. Grissmer et al.

Spring 2001 / Vol. 1, No. 1

The Seeds of Growth

The United States became the world’s economic superpower over the course of the 20th century. But can today’s education system be counted on to fertilize growth in the future?

Fall 2002 / Vol. 2, No. 3

Lost Opportunity

Increased economic growth, fueled by improvements in student performance, might have funded the nation’s entire K–12 education budget by now

Spring 2003 / Vol. 3, No. 2

High-Stakes Research

Accountability works after all

Summer 2003 / Vol. 3, No. 3

The Revolving Door

A path-breaking study of teachers in Texas reveals that working conditions matter more than salary

Winter 2004 / Vol. 4, No. 1

Pseudo-Science and a Sound Basic Education

Checked: “The New York Adequacy Study: Determining the Cost of Providing All Children in New York an Adequate Education,” American Institutes for Research and Management Analysis and Planning (March 2004). “Resource Adequacy Study for the New York State Commission on Education Reform,” Standard & Poor’s School Evaluation Service (March 2004). “Report and Recommendations of the […]

Fall 2005 / Vol. 5, No. 4

Blog Posts/Multimedia

Professionalizing Teaching and Winning the Salary Wars

‘Grand bargain’ would feature higher pay and increased accountability.


What Do Test Scores Really Mean for the Economy?

Test scores today say a lot about what our labor force will look like over the coming decades.


Apprenticeship Programs in a Changing Economic World

In a knowledge-based economy, early employment gains with vocational training may lead to later problems when specific skills become obsolete and workers lack the ability to adjust to a changed economic environment.


Emulating Germany’s Apprenticeship System Won’t Make America Great Again

Trump’s apprenticeship expansion will not substitute for our failing K-12 schooling system.


American Teachers Unions Oppose Innovative Schools—in Africa

Bridge Academies show promising results in Kenya and Uganda, but unions see them only as a threat.


Student Achievement and Every State’s Economic Future

Vast economic gains are likely to accrue to any state that can improve the quality of its schools.


Reason for Despair, Reason for Hope

For the first time in the past half century there appears to be a strong possibility that we will serve all of our students and that we will restore the strength of the U.S. workforce.


Not in the Right Ballpark

A continuation of the debate over a study on the impact of school spending by C. Kirabo Jackson, Rucker C. Johnson, and Claudia Persico


Money Matters After All?

A response to Boosting Educational Attainment and Adult Earnings by C. Kirabo Jackson, Rucker C. Johnson, and Claudia Persico


Universal Basic Skills and Sustainable Development Goals

A new report examines the economic impact of meeting a goal of bringing all children up to a level of basic skills.


Teachers Union in New York City Pushes Property Tax Change to Boost Teacher Hiring

By going back to the tried-and-true rhetoric of class size reduction, the teachers union would like to distract attention from any alternative school improvement policies.


There Is No War on Teachers

Tenure laws that protect grossly ineffective teachers actually harm better teachers, who are unfairly tarnished by association with unquestionably bad teachers.


More Easily Firing Bad Teachers Helps Everyone

Early, irreversible decisions about teacher tenure have real costs for students and ultimately all of society.


Kansas Courts Get It Right

Instead of deciding whether or not the Kansas legislature had dedicated sufficient funds to its local schools, the Kansas Supreme Court chose to highlight the importance of student outcomes.


Why the U.S. Results on PISA Matter

Other countries have shown that it is possible to improve. While changing achievement might be difficult, there is ample evidence that it is critical to the U.S. future.


America’s Schools Earn a ‘C’ on Their Report Card

NCLB needs a variety of (obvious) fixes, but abandoning accountability is not among them.


Schools Improve When Leaders Stop Rationalizing Mediocrity

If the superintendents of failing school districts were as adept at fixing schools as they are at making excuses for their poor performance, America would have the best education system in the world.


Playing in the Right League

Instead of being complacent about our international standings, we should focus on ways to get our students up to the top leagues.


Some Perspective on Common Core

I am not against having better learning standards, but I also believe that we cannot be distracted from more fundamental reform of our schools.


What Happened to 2007?

We need to return to the task of 2007 and to judge what might or might not usefully change in NCLB.


Why Educators’ Wages Must Be Revamped Now

Some districts are spending more than they need to spend, based on what other districts show is possible.


We Know the Answer, But What Is the Question?

We cannot paper over the fact that a large number of other countries have shown that it is possible to develop considerably higher skills in their youth than we are doing


Evaluating Teachers AND Administrators

The sheer magnitude of impact that effective and ineffective principals have underscores the need for a reliable and accurate system for evaluating principals.


The Role of Principals in Successful Schools

Eric Hanushek discusses his new study, School Leaders Matter, with Paul Peterson.


The California Student Lockout

“If you will not give the money we want for schools, we will close them down,” the state threatens.


International Benchmarking of Student Achievement

Most educational standard setting, performance assessment, and judgments about appropriate levels of achievement today are based on history and custom with a little bit of “professional dreaming.” The process generally lacks any context of what our international competitors are doing.


Is the Common Core Just a Distraction?

All of the intense pushing and shoving about the Common Core leaves one simple question: should we care?


Misplaced Optimism and Weighted Funding

Liberals and conservatives alike have made “weighted student funding” a core idea of their reform prescriptions. Both groups see such weighted funding as providing more dollars to the specific schools they tend to focus upon, and both see it as inspiring improved achievement through newfound political pressures. Unfortunately, both groups are very likely wrong.


Paying Attention to Classroom Reality

Continuing anachronistic regulatory and policy efforts aimed at input measures and credentials does not make sense when the alternative — a capacity to look at the varying levels of education that are actually being provided to our students — is available to us.


The Teacher Effectiveness Gap

It is difficult to ascertain how much variation in teacher quality there is between schools, but I don’t think answering that question is key to policy.


The Value of Releasing Value-Added Ratings of Teachers

The issue raised by the release of value-added information is simply how quickly and how assuredly we get to a more rational system of evaluations – for both teachers and administrators – and to a more rational personnel system that guarantees an effective teacher in every classroom.


Why Not Have Open Tests?

A more complete integration of testing, accountability, and teaching would be superior to dealing with the integrity of testing in isolation. Let’s put the tests out in the sun instead of trying to lock them up in more and more secure rooms.


The New Worst Way to Deal with Budget Problems

Of all of the options, reducing the length of the school year must be the absolute worst – at least from the perspective of students. But California, always proud of being a leader, has written into law that this is the preferred option if districts face budgetary shortfalls.


The NRC Judges Test-Based Accountability

“Incentives and Test-based Accountability in Education” is unlikely to clear up any issues. Indeed it is more likely to leave the casual reader with just the wrong impression. The remarkable conclusion to be drawn from the evidence presented in the report is how much can be gained from a flawed accountability system.


The Upside of Class Size Reduction

When reducing class size, one must hire more teachers, which means that the school system will essentially get a random draw that is expected to yield an average teacher. But increasing class size means that some current teachers must be laid off, and here the schools have a tremendous advantage.


The New Unionism, Legislative Version

The unions can try to rebuild their image (while doing good for America) by actively participating in efforts to figure out how to evaluate teachers and how schools can make personnel decisions based on those evaluations.


The (Enormous) Economic Returns to a Good Teacher

If we could replace the bottom 5-8 percent of our teachers with average teachers, we could move our students’ achievement up to that of Canada


How Valuable Is an Effective Teacher?

Podcast: Rick Hanushek talks with Ed Next’s Paul Peterson about his new study estimating the economic impact of teachers who produce higher than average gains in student learning.


Looking for a Friend in Court

The courts are so used to measuring education in terms of spending that they tend to be swayed by horror stories without ever conceiving of reforming the way schools spend their money.


Feeling Too Good About Our Schools

Each time international tests of student achievement are released, there is a parade of glib commentators explaining why we should not pay much attention to the generally poor performance of U.S. students.


Improving the Evaluation of Teachers

In an unexpected action last summer, the Los Angeles Times published the ratings of teacher effectiveness for 6,000 teachers by name. The publication created a firestorm. Since my research started this development, I believe it is useful to share my perspectives on how we should judge this development and whether we should stop its spread.


Compared to Other Countries, Does the United States Really Do That Badly in Math?

Many Americans were shocked to learn how poorly U. S. students were doing when the Program on International Student Assessment released its study of math achievement for 2006. But educators were encouraged in December 2008 when another respected international survey, Trends in Mathematics and Science Study, released results from its math testing for 2007. Have we unfairly maligned our schools?


Why Is Reform So Hard?

Many people find it hard to believe that student performance has been flat for four decades when we have more than tripled funding for schools and when we have put into place a number of reform measures. The recent discussions in Congress, however, shed some light on this.


Research and Policy: Master’s Degrees

There are a variety of educational policies that simply conflict with research. One of the largest is pay for master’s degrees.


Florida Positions Itself at the Forefront

Over the past decade, Florida has shown its laser-focus on student performance. Beginning with Jeb Bush and his able and imaginative education team, Florida moved forward on a reform agenda. Now it is showing additional leadership by moving aggressively on issues of teacher quality.


A Clearer Picture on Charter Schools

The effectiveness of charter schools in raising student achievement has become an intensely debated issue. When we last considered this topic, the Department of Education was pushing charter schools but dueling studies introduced uncertainty. A new study by CREDO clears up the uncertainty.


What To Do About NCLB

Three separate lines of inquiry provide evidence that existing accountability systems have led to larger gains than expected in a world without them. At the same time, accountability is a relatively new invention, and it needs to be refined and improved.


Court Mandates on School Funding Sharply Decline

Since 2005, there have been important adequacy case decisions in over a dozen states, and in none of them have the courts required further funding increases. Several courts, when deciding new adequacy cases, have either dismissed them based on separation of powers grounds or have ruled against the plaintiffs on the merits following a trial.


Why are Some Environments Better than Others for Charter Schools? Today’s Policy Question

This has been a good year for evidence on the effectiveness of charters, highlighted by a major national study from CREDO and a new study in the continuing work from New York City. Nonetheless, understanding and interpreting the scientific research within the political and media environment is made more difficult by the political context.


The Supreme Court Gets School Funding Right

One sleeper in the flurry of decisions at the end of the last U.S. Supreme Court term has to be the decision in Horne v. Flores, a long-running Arizona case about funding special programs for English Language Learners (ELL). In overturning lower court decisions calling for continued court-ordered school spending without regard to student outcomes, the Court may lead to a new era of more rational and effective court involvement in school funding policies.


Will Horne v. Flores Affect School Finance Litigation?

Video: Eric Hanushek talks with Education Next about the recent Supreme Court decision on school spending in Arizona, and considers the ruling’s impact on state school finance litigation.


Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses

Video: Hoover Institution senior fellows and members of Hoovers Task Force on K12 Education Terry Moe and Eric Hanushek discuss Hanushek’s new book Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses.

Sponsored Results
Sponsored by

Harvard Kennedy School Program on Educational Policy and Governance

Sponsored by

Notify Me When Education Next Posts a Big Story