- A key element of any successful economy, whether a nation or a state, is the quality of its workforce.
- The economic gains to each state from improving its schools are enormous and justify significant changes in state policies. Raising all states to the level of the top performing state in the US has an economic value of $75.9 billion. Even just raising all students to at least a NAEP Basic score is worth $32.2 billion.
- Simply increasing funding for schools, one oft-proposed solution, is unlikely to lead to increased academic performance unless more attention is given to how money is spent.
Hanushek suggests that lower-performing states replicate the policy and implementation processes taken by the highest-performing states. He states, “Extensive research has shown that the key is improving the quality of the teachers and leaders in the schools.” If improvements are to be realized, existing incentives for teachers and leaders must be changed instead.