Hoover Institution (Stanford, CA) – The Hoover Education Success Initiative (HESI) will launch a six-part webinar series this fall that explores how public education can improve moving forward given the ongoing disruption of in-person instruction caused by COVID-19-inspired restrictions, as well as foundations of the system that needed reform prior to the pandemic.

HESI scholars predict that after an entire year of not attending school in person, students will see a decrease in 6 to 9 percent of their lifetime earnings. These figures correspond to a cumulative reduction in 3 to 4 percent of United States GDP over the next century. The HESI team stresses that in order to make up for these losses, public schools need to be made better than they were before COVID-19 spread to the United States in early 2020. In May 2021, the scholars produced a comprehensive report about the lingering crisis, and provided research-based solutions for state and federal policy makers aimed at reducing long-term educational and economic harm.

Each conversation in the six-part series will feature Hoover scholars that are conducting cutting-edge research, as well as other leading education experts, many of them members of HESI’s Practitioner Council, who will offer their perspectives about putting policy ideas into action.

Topics of discussion will include teacher compensation, the role of media in education reform, school choice, school accountability, student achievement, and which stakeholders need to be involved in reform efforts:

Wednesday, September 15, 2021, at 1 pm
Will Increasing Teacher Pay Harm Students?
Momentum is growing for significant increases to teachers' salaries. Can we be certain in the post-COVID world that higher pay will lead to positive outcomes?


  • Holly Boffy, District 7 Representative, Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Kent McGuire, Program Director, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • Eric Hanushek, Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution


  • Christopher N. Ruszkowski, Distinguished Policy Fellow, Hoover Institution

Wednesday, September 22, 2021, at 1 pm
Can We Stop the Clock? Replacing Seat Time with Mastery
Every student who has ever watched the clock during class knows that seat time does not equal learning. The impact of COVID on student academic progress makes it more important than ever to refocus on how well students master the learning standards. The good work of several educators shows us how this can be done. 


  • Chad Gestson, Superintendent, Phoenix Union High School District
  • Don Shalvey, CEO, San Joaquin A+
  • Margaret “Macke” Raymond, Distinguished Research Fellow, Hoover Institution


  • Stephen Bowen, Council of Chief State School Officers

Wednesday, September 29, 2021, at 1 pm
Fourth Estate or Fifth Wheel?  The Role of the Media in Education Reform
The mainstream media is the primary source of information about efforts to improve public education in the United States. Can they serve a critical role in the recovery of public education from the effects of COVID?  Do we need to watch the watchdogs?


  • Hanna Skandera, CEO, Daniels Fund
  • Manny Diaz Jr., Senator, State of Florida
  • Mike Cohen, Senior Fellow, CentrePoint


  • Jenn Vranek, Founder and Managing Partner, Education First

Wednesday, October 6, 2021, at 1pm
Can We Choose Our Way to Better Schools?

Nearly three decades have been spent promoting school choice as a vehicle for improved academics and equity. The realities of COVID introduced new urgency into the need for options to meet the needs of students. Can school choice carry the day?


  • Jeff Camp, Founder, ED100
  • Paul E. Peterson, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution
  • Robert Enlow, President and CEO, EdChoice


  • Wayne Lewis, President, Houghton College

Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 1pm
Who Needs to Be “in the Room Where It Happens” to Improve US K–12 Schools?

Until now, education insiders haven’t needed a program to identify the players. COVID-inspired school closures, remote learning, hybrid models, and other adaptations have raised awareness of the challenges facing US K–12 education as never before. New stakeholders are on the scene and will remain. 


  • Margie Vandeven, Commissioner, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Derrell Bradford, Executive Vice President, 50CAN
  • Christina Laster, Director of Policy and Legislation, National Parents Union


  • Margaret “Macke” Raymond, Distinguished Research Fellow, Hoover Institution

Wednesday, October 20, 2021, at 1pm
Has School Accountability Outlived Its Shelf Life?

One of the earliest casualties of the COVID-related school closures was school accountability for academic results, and many education leaders want it to stay that way. How do we assure families, students, and communities that their schools are fully serving their role? What options are possible, and which are politically infeasible?


  • Michael Kirst, Professor Emeritus of Education, Stanford University
  • Chester E. Finn, Jr., Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution
  • Jim Peyser, Secretary of Education, Commonwealth of Massachusetts


  • Melanie Barton, Senior Education Advisor, Office of the Governor of South Carolina

For more information on the series, visit

For coverage opportunities, contact Jeffrey Marschner, 202-760-3187,

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