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Knowledge Base

Investing In Good Teachers Pays Big Dividends

What’s the economic impact of improving student performance?

If all states improved their schools to match that of the top state (Minnesota), the overall gains would be $76 trillion over an eighty-year period. If each state lifted its student performance to that of the highest-performing state in its region, the economic gains would be $36 trillion over the same time period. All in all, America can reap economic gain from improving its schools.

Should we evaluate teacher performance?

Yes. We consider tying teacher compensation to productivity as measured by students’ performance or supervisor evaluation. However, we should never focus exclusively on teacher evaluations without also including administrator evaluations. It is essential to evaluate administrators because they have a significant impact on students’ outcomes that cannot be ignored. Ineffective administrators, like ineffective teachers, can reduce learning of students.

What is the measured link between credentials and teacher performance?

Traditional teacher certifications or advanced degrees have no measured impact on teacher performance and student learning. Teachers with multiple certifications and degrees are not guaranteed to provide a quality education.

What do you mean when you say a great teacher can increase a student’s lifetime earnings?

Eric Hanushek’s research suggests that having a great teacher for one year versus an average one can raise a student’s total lifetime earnings by $14,000.

In other words, suppose an individual is on track to make $500,000 over his or her entire lifetime. Replacing an average teacher of theirs with a great teacher for one year is associated with new total lifetime earnings of $514,000. The video suggests that a great teacher can generate a quarter of a million dollars a year in future lifetime earnings. That’s because eighteen students each receiving an expected increase of $14,000 in lifetime earnings totals $252,000.

For more, you can read Hanushek’s article “The Economic Value of Higher Teacher Quality.”