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ERIC Number: EJ763309
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Pseudo-Science and a Sound Basic Education: Voodoo Statistics in New York
Hanushek, Eric
Education Next, v5 n4 p67-73 Fall 2005
The education problems in New York City (and a number of other jurisdictions that face court financing challenges) are real and important. Many people would indeed be willing to put more money into New York City schools (or any poorly performing school for that matter) if they had any reason to believe that students' achievement would improve significantly. Unfortunately, addressing these problems by simply augmenting the current system, which has virtually nonexistent performance incentives, will not solve the problems. At such a critical juncture, students and taxpayers alike deserve an approach that embraces the best of what we already know about investments in public schoolings that work. This is not ensured by any of the legal proceedings to date. In the end, the big difficulty with the costing-out exercise is that it purports to provide something that cannot currently be provided: a scientific assessment of what spending is needed to bring about dramatic improvements in student performance. By their very nature such studies provide little information about the costs of achieving improvements efficiently. They contain nary a word about changing the reward structure for teachers (other than paying everybody more). They avoid any consideration of accountability systems based on student outcomes. They lack any appropriate empirical basis. Decisions on how much to spend on education are not scientific questions, and they cannot be answered with methods that effectively rule out all discussion of reforms that might make the school system more efficient. (Contains 3 figures.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York