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Product Details

  • Paperback: 125 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press (June 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815703732
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815703730
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #687,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"America faces many pressures ranging from achieving long-run fiscal balance to maintaining our strong national security. As Hanushek, Peterson, and Woessmann persuasively show, these pressures could be dramatically lessened by improving our schools." —George P. Shultz, former U.S. Secretary of State

"Just when you thought we'd reached a consensus on the need to dramatically improve America's schools, a chorus is emerging to suggest all is well. Endangering Prosperity contains all the facts and figures needed to put an end to such dangerous and misguided thinking." —Joel Klein, former Chancellor of New York City schools

"If the United States is to continue to be the experiment in liberty and freedom for which those who founded our great country sacrificed their lives, we must find a way to fix our schools. If we continue on the path we are on, we endanger more than just our prosperity, as the authors of this powerful volume make clear." —Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida

" Endangering Prosperity makes a compelling case that K-12 public education in the United States is lagging compared to its international counterparts —and that the issue extends across the socioeconomic spectrum. The economic costs are simply too great, the authors persuasively argue, to accept the timid incrementalism that too often passes for 'reform.'" —Chris Cerf, Commissioner of Education, State of New Jersey

"Seen from abroad, it is clear that America's schools could do better. Endangering Prosperity accurately describes the challenges facing U.S. schools, but also shows the rewards that could come from improvement." —Sir Michael Barber, former adviser to U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair

About the Author

Eric Hanushek is the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow in Education at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Paul E. Peterson is the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Ludger Woessmann is a professor of economics at the University of Munich.

More About the Author

Eric Hanushek is the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. He has been a leader in the development of economic analysis of educational issues, and his work on efficiency, resource usage, and economic outcomes of schools has frequently entered into the design of both national and international educational policy. His research spans such diverse areas as the impacts of teacher quality, high stakes accountability, and class size reduction on achievement and the role of cognitive skills in international growth and development. His pioneering analysis measuring teacher quality through student achievement forms the basis for current research into the value-added of teachers and schools.

He is chairman of the Executive Committee for the Texas Schools Project at the University of Texas at Dallas, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a member of the Koret Task Force on K-12 Education. He currently serves as chair of the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences.

His newest book, Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses : Solving the Funding-Achievement Puzzle in America's Public Schools, describes how improved school finance policies can be used to meet our achievement goals. Prior books include Courting Failure, the Handbook on the Economics of Education, The Economics of Schooling and School Quality, Improving America's Schools, Making Schools Work, Educational Performance of the Poor, Education and Race, Modern Political Economy, Improving Information for Social Policy Decisions, and Statistical Methods for Social Scientists, along with numerous widely-cited articles in professional journals.

He previously held academic appointments at the University of Rochester, Yale University, and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Government service includes being Deputy Director of the Congressional Budget Office, Senior Staff Economist at the Council of Economic Advisers, and Senior Economist at the Cost of Living Council. He has been appointed to a variety of policy commissions including the Governor's Committee on Education Excellence in California and the Governor's Commission for a College Ready Texas. He is a member of the National Academy of Education and the International Academy of Education along with being a fellow of the Society of Labor Economists and the American Education Research Association. He was awarded the Fordham Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in 2004.

He is a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and completed his Ph.D. in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1965-1974. (http://www.hanushek.net)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 39 people found the following review helpful By reader 1001 on September 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
Russ Roberts interviewed the author on his EconTalk podcast. I recommend that readers listen to the interview or read the detailed summation. Then read the comments, and you will see the author's analysis is fundamentally flawed. He has fallen prey to Simpson's paradox, where a failure to account for lurking variables can reverse the inference made from the analysis. Hanushek relies on the International PISA exam to compare performance of American students to the OECD countries and asserts we come up short-- we don't. His mistake: relying on average scores which is a bad metric for a number of reasons. The U.S. is a multiracial society, and high scoring countries like Finland, Canada, and Korea are not. If you look at the average scores (Table 3) on the combined reading and literacy test given to 15 year olds on the 2009 PISA exam, you will see that the U.S. ranks 13 out of 34. However, Table 5 shows why the U.S. has a middle ranking (still higher then Germany). The U.S. scores have a multimodal distribution because different groups have significantly different score distributions. If you look at group averages instead of the average of the aggregated scores an entirely different picture emerges. U.S. Asian students with their average score of 541 come out on top with a ranking of 1. U.S. white students are rank number 3 with an average score of 520. The overall U.S. average is dragged down by the low black and Hispanic averages of 441 and 466 respectively. However note that U.S. Hispanics still do significantly better than Mexican students with an average of 425. If we look at scores on math tests and science we get a similar result, although the U.S. should do a little better considering how much money we spend.Read more ›
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nandt1 on September 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book brings a lot of hard data, both international and domestic, to help illustrate several key points.

(a) The actual learning performance of students, as measured on standardized (cross-country) tests, correlates with different countries' economic performance to a striking degree. (Does growth explain schooling or the other way around? Well, the authors also show that learning in an earlier period links to growth in subsequent periods).

(b) US schools overall are doing a fairly weak job with getting kids to learn key skills, compared to other advanced economies.

(c) With efforts at improvement -- and this is by no means all or even primarily about volumes of money -- jurisdictions can in fact improve their relative and absolute performance, as shown e.g., by states like Maryland, Massachusetts, and Florida.

Of course, there are plenty of people out there with vested interests or axes to grind. Critics will no doubt cavil at the book's analysis, arguing that things are not all that bad... or that it's all the fault of our ethnic heterogeneity. Approach these excuses for complacency with skepticism. And above all read the book.
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Most disturbing to realize that our American public education system is giving such dismal results. The book seems to lack focused solutions to turn the poor results about. We need to get serious about improving what is so poor.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Volkmar Weiss on November 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
In 2002, Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen published their landmark book "IQ and the Wealth of Nations" . In 2007 Heiner Rindermann showed that PISA tests and other scales of student proficiency rates can be understood as IQ tests and that the transformation of PISA scores into IQ results yields very similar numbers. PISA scores, mean 500, standard deviation 100, can easily be transformed into IQ values, mean 100, standard deviation 15, by adding or subtracting the deviation from the mean in the relationship 100 : 15 = 6.67, that a mean of PISA 433 corresponds to IQ 90, PISA 567 to IQ 110, if PISA 500 is set to be IQ 100. Heiner Rindermann in his publications has confirmed that PISA transformed scores of nations are nearly identical with IQ means, published by Lynn and Vanhanen in their book.

This book by Hanushek. Peterson and the German Woessmann is based heavily on the work done by Lynn and Rindermann, without citing them in any way.
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