America's public schools are in trouble, and there are few who would disagree. But despite billions of dollars spent in "reform" efforts, little real progress seems to be occuring. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was a step (or a misstep, perhaps) toward greater accountability by schools for student achievement. It had (has) many flaws, but it was at least an attempt to make necessary, big changes in our schools. Eric Hanushek (of the Hoover Institution of Stanford University) and Alfred Lindseth (a lawyer with expertise in school finance law) lay out a plan even more ambitious than NCLB. It would dramatically raise the pay and the status of teachers, but base their compensation (and even their continuation as teachers) on student outcomes. Students would be tracked across schools and districts if necessary, and assessments would be value-added, instead of yearly "snapshots", so that teachers teaching in economically disadvantaged areas would have a better chance to have a measured impact than those in advantaged situations. This problem will requires solutions far beyond the schools, and that is why courthouses and statehouses are in the title. This is a thought-provoking book.
Eric A. Hanushek and Alfred A. Lindseth