An EconTalk Podcast Listening Guide

Eric Hanushek on Educational Quality and Economic Growth

Listen to the EconTalk podcast Eric Hanushek on Educational Quality and Economic Growth and consider these questions.

1. How do Roberts and Hanushek define “human capital”, and what is its relationship to economic growth? For what reasons is “years of schooling” not a good measure of human capital?

2. Describe the additional factors that Hanushek suggests also help explain international differences in educational achievement.

3. Hanushek argues that the only controversy about the effect of teacher quality on student achievement is in terms of policy implications. What does he mean by this? Do you agree?

4. Hanushek suggests the OECD’s PISA (Program on International Student Assessment) as a better measure for looking at educational quality and achievement. Why? What policy implications does utilizing measurements like PISA suggest for institutions such as the World Bank?

5. Describe the correlation Hanushek finds between test scores and national growth rates.

6. When Roberts asks Hanushek what sorts of policy solutions we should seek to see increasing educational quality, Hanushek mentions teacher quality first. What suggestions does Hanushek offer to improve teacher quality?

7. Hanushek argues that the best hope for educational reform lies within the existing (domestic) system. What does he advise as feasible suggestions for reform?

8. Roberts challenges Hanushek’s affinity for testing by hinting at the dangers of “teaching to the test”. How does Hanushek respond?

9. What does Roberts mean when he says, “… there are some boxes everybody is going to be happy to be forced into”?

10. In closing, what do Roberts and Hanushek suggest as the most appropriate role(s) for the federal government in education?