Cover image for Earning and learning : how schools matter
Earning and learning : how schools matter
Mayer, Susan E.
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Brookings Institution Press ; New York : Russell Sage Foundation, [1999]

Physical Description:
viii, 365 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
From learning to earning / Susan E. Mayer -- Aptitude or achievement : why do test scores predict educational attainment and earnings? / Christopher Jencks and Meredith Phillips -- Economic success and the evolution of schooling and mental ability / Christopher Winship and Sanders D. Korenman -- Does the timing of school affect how much children learn? / Susan E. Mayer and David Knutson -- School reforms : how much do they matter? / Paul E. Peterson -- How does class size relate to achievement in schools? / Frederick Mosteller -- The evidence on class size / Eric A. Hanushek -- The effects of math and math-related courses in high school / Robert H. Meyer -- Do hard courses and good grades enhance cognitive skills? / Jay R. Girotto and Paul E. Peterson -- Nerd harassment, incentives, school priorities, and learning / John H. Bishop -- The effects of school choice on curriculum and atmosphere / Caroline M. Hoxby -- The effects of school choice in New York City / Paul E. Peterson ... [et al.] -- The costs and benefits of school reform / Susan E. Mayer and Paul E. Peterson.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library LC66 .E23 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Education is one of the largest sectors of the U.S. economy--yet scholars, educators, policymakers, and parents do not agree about what the money spent on education really buys. In particular, they do not agree on how much education improves children's ability to learn or whether the things children learn in school truly improve their chances for success as adults. If schooling increases how much students know and what they know does pay off later, then it is important to ask what schools can do to increase students' learning and earning.The essays in this book report estimates of the effects of learning on earnings and other life outcomes. They also examine whether particular aspects of schooling--such as the age at which children begin school, classroom size, and curriculum--or structural reform--such as national or statewide examinations or school choice--affect learning. Taken together, their findings suggest that liberals are correct in saying that more investment is needed in early education, that class sizes should be further reduced, and that challenging national or state standards should be established. But they also provide support for conservatives who ask for a more demanding curriculum and greater school choice.Contributors include John Bishop, Eric Hanushek, James Heckman, Christopher Jencks, Caroline Minter Hoxby, Fred Mosteller, and Christopher Winship.

Author Notes

Susan E. Mayer is associate professor of sociology in the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago.
Paul E. Peterson is Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and director, Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This series of essays examines the relationship between the individual student's school learning and his or her consequent earnings potential or, more simply, the proposition that the more one learns the better off one will be. Contributing scholars examine the aptitude versus achievement argument, the school choice and class size debates, the benefits of more rigorous curricula, a longer school year, exit exams, and "nerd harassment," all as they contribute to future earnings potential. The contributors conclude that US education continues to lag behind that of most other industrialized nations on quality measures. Using cost-benefit analysis, the authors estimate the impact of school reform on students' test scores and future earnings. They conclude that reforms with the greatest payoffs--national exit exams, school choice, and more rigorous curricula--are the most controversial politically and therefore the least likely to be implemented, while reforms with more modest payoffs--class size reduction and additional years of schooling--can be expected to be the major elements of school reform in the future. It appears that, without political tradeoffs between educational liberals and the proponents of greater rigor, quantity rather than quality will continue to be the watchword in US education. For upper-division undergraduates and above. R. J. Reynolds; Eastern Connecticut State University

Table of Contents

Susan E. MayerChristopher Jencks and Meredith PhillipsChristopher Winship and Sanders D. KorenmanSusan E. Mayer and David KnutsonPaul E. PetersonFrederick MostellerEric A. HanushekRobert H. MeyerJay R. Girotto and Paul E. PetersonJohn H. BishopCaroline M. HoxbyPaul E. Peterson and David E. Myers and William G. Howell and Daniel P. MayerSusan E. Mayer and Paul E. Peterson
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Part 1 Schooling, Cognitive Skills, and Future Earnings
1 From Learning to Earningp. 3
2 Aptitude or Achievement: Why Do Test Scores Predict Educational Attainment and Earnings?p. 15
3 Economic Success and the Evolution of Schooling and Mental Abilityp. 49
4 Does the Timing of School Affect How Much Children Learn?p. 79
Part 2 Improving Schooling
5 School Reforms: How Much Do They Matter?p. 105
6 How Does Class Size Relate to Achievement in Schools?p. 117
7 The Evidence on Class Sizep. 131
8 The Effects of Math and Math-Related Courses in High Schoolp. 169
9 Do Hard Courses and Good Grades Enhance Cognitive Skills?p. 205
10 Nerd Harassment, Incentives, School Priorities, and Learningp. 231
11 The Effects of School Choice on Curriculum and Atmospherep. 281
12 The Effects of School Choice in New York Cityp. 317
13 The Costs and Benefits of School Reformp. 341
Contributorsp. 355
Indexp. 357

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