Friday, December 24, 2010

Department of Wow, or, Valuing a Great Teacher

A new NBER working paper from Eric Hanushek makes the following claim:
A teacher one standard deviation above the mean effectiveness annually generates marginal gains of over $400,000 in present value of student future earnings with a class size of 20 and proportionately higher with larger class sizes. Alternatively, replacing the bottom 5-8 percent of teachers with average teachers could move the U.S. near the top of international math and science rankings with a present value of $100 trillion.

I am using this post to save the link because I haven't yet read the paper. But if this is true, which I wouldn't find surprising, then... Wow.
HT: Greg Mankiw

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Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that which the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant. ~Fredrich Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty