An EconTalk Podcast Listening Guide

Hanushek on Teachers

Listen to the EconTalk podcast Hanushek on Teachers and consider these questions.

1. How does Hanushek describe the relationship between teacher quality and student achievement? What are the factors he suggests that contribute to teacher quality?

2. What does Hanushek mean when he says, “It’s not always clear what we want good teachers to accomplish?”

3. What are “rubber rooms,” and why does Hanushek claim to be a fan of them?

4. Roberts challenges Hanushek’s methodology in measuring teacher quality by pointing to both selectivity bias and the endowment effect. What do each of these mean, and how does Roberts claim they can undermine Hanushek’s measurement?

5. Roberts and Hanushek discuss why college professors are paid more than high school teachers. For what reasons do they suggest this is true? What factors do they miss? Does the fact that professors earn more indeed make sense? Why?

6. What has been the trend in changes in student populations compared to changes in staffing? To what extent do you find this problematic?

7. How does Hanushek argue that teacher’s value-added measurements should influence decisions regarding teacher pay and placement? To what extent do you agree?

8. Is low student achievement a sociological-demographic phenomenon, as suggested by the Coleman report, or is the problem endogenous to the education system? Explain.