The Future of Education Discussed by Hoover Fellow Caroline M. Hoxby

Monday, January 31, 2005

"The year 2014 is the drop-dead date for American schoolchildren to be proficient in math and English," said Hoover fellow Caroline Hoxby in a talk, "2004–2014: A Crucial Decade of Hope and Change for American Education," she gave January 27. Hoxby, a Hoover distinguished visiting fellow and a member of the Koret Task Force on K–12 Education, is a professor of economics at Harvard University.

In her talk Hoxby discussed the opportunities and challenges that will confront education during the next ten years. She also pointed out the importance of improving education to the United States' maintaining its worldwide advantage.

For Hoxby, the next ten years are a "decade for hope, not just challenges." Although she said the No Child Left Behind Act is not a perfect law, Hoxby believes it has good points. One is that it sets performance standards; another is that it establishes achievement deadlines.

She outlined three improvements in elementary and secondary education that are under way in some parts of the country: school accountability, school choice, and teacher incentives, such as pay for performance.

She concluded by saying that "there are powerful forces arrayed against school reform" but that it's necessary to put these developments in place before other countries surpass the United States.

In addition to her academic affiliations, Hoxby is the director of the Economics of Education Program for the National Bureau of Economic Research. She is the editor of The Economic Analysis of School Choice (University of Chicago Press, 2002) and College Choices (University of Chicago Press, 2004). Some of her published articles include "Does Competition among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?" (American Economic Review, 2000), "Not All School Finance Equalizations Are Created Equal" (Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2001), and "How Teachers' Unions Affect Education Production" (Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1996).