School Figures from Hoover Press presents the facts behind the numbers on education

Thursday, November 13, 2003

School Figures: The Data behind the Debate, a new release from Hoover Institution Press, presents recent statistics, analysis, historical trends and cross-sectional comparisons that provide a clear, factual picture of today's educational landscape. Organized in a concise and understandable format featuring visual aids, the book provides a unique visual picture of the facts on K–12 education issues.

Authors Hanna Skandera and Richard Sousa organized the book into six chapters, each containing short propositions on K–12 education that readers may find surprising.

Nearly every proposition is accompanied by tables, charts, and graphs that clarify the issues and give readers the information they need to make informed decisions. This valuable reference presents many key facts relating to K–12 education, including student, family, and school demographics; cost and finance data; testing and achievement comparisons; public school reform endeavors; alternative education routes; and other important subjects.

The authors reveal, for example, that children in public schools may actually receive more, not less, individualized attention. They show that teacher certification is not necessarily a teacher quality guarantee. And they present facts corroborating that, when it comes to quality education, family may matter most, and that a positive home environment is clearly related to high academic achievement.

The book also explores popular assumptions about school finance, showing that increased per pupil spending has not been matched by improved student performance, and that, when it comes to achievement, the federal aid to schools has not made the intended difference. It counters other widespread misconceptions as well, showing that there is, in fact, no teacher shortage, that across-the-board teacher salary increases may not stand alone as an education reform solution, and that California's class size reduction effort is the most expensive school reform measure to date yet does not guarantee a better education.

Hanna Skandera is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Richard Sousa is senior associate director and research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

School Figures: The Data behind the Debate
by Hanna Skandera and Richard Sousa
ISBN: 0-8179-2822-7 $15.00, paperback
342 pages November 2003