In the process of writing our recent paper on federal education policy, I spent time re-reading the academic research on school accountability in general and No Child Left Behind in particular. What struck me upon re-reading it was the disconnect between what the research says about the effects of school accountability–the literature tends to find it has small but significant impacts–and the national conversation about it.
As Congress prepares to consider legislation to reauthorize NCLB, I reached out to Eric Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, to talk about his research on education and school accountability. Hanushek is a leader in the development of economic analysis of educational issues and has authored numerous, highly cited studies on the effects of class size reduction, high stakes accountability, the assessment of teacher quality, and other education related topics. His recent work shows that the quality of education is closely related to state and national economic growth.
What follows is lightly edited transcript of our conversation. Continue reading