"A good school is not necessarily the one that spends the most. A good teacher is not necessarily the one who has a master’s degree or has the most experience. We found there are big differences across schools and they are not closely related to our common ways of judging the quality of schools".

"It is not that somebody knows the current science, because the current science might be wrong, but it is that somebody knows how to learn about new science ... how to learn to do something they never thought about doing when they were in school. That is the key element".

Meet Eric Hanushek, who is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and an expert on education policy. He was the first scholar to measure the effectiveness of a teacher based on the learning gains of his or her student. You may have also seen him in the movie, “Waiting For ‘Superman.’” Hanushek was kind enough to answer a few of our questions.

Economists, whether liberal or conservative, don’t think about education the way most educators do, and that’s healthy. My friend Eric Hanushek is in the conservative camp, as his affiliation with the Hoover Institution at Stanford indicates. Rick has been interested in education–no, strike that–in doing something to improve education, for many years. He’s active on a number of fronts, particularly in Texas and with the Koret Task Force on K-12 Education. Professor Hanushek has a new book out, but, because he manages to sneak in two plugs in our interview, I won’t repeat the title here.

Eric Hanushek has been one of the nation's best-known and most controversial education researchers over the last two decades. After earning a doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and serving in the United States Air Force, he rose to prominence in education circles during the 1980s with a series of papers questioning the strength of the relationship between education spending and student performance. That work has been widely interpreted to suggest that money isn't a significant ingredient of school quality or school reform.