Doug Staiger ’84 gets a nice mention from Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times.

For inspiration, presidential candidates might look at this bold three-part plan for improving American schools:

End requirements for teacher certification.

Make tenure more difficult to get so weak teachers can be weeded out after two or three years on the job.

Award $15,000 annual bonuses to good teachers for as long as they teach at schools in low-income areas.

Those ideas are cribbed from a provocative report on education from the Hamilton Project, which is affiliated with the Brookings Institution. The report was prepared by Robert Gordon of the Center for American Progress, Thomas Kane of Harvard and Douglas Staiger of Dartmouth, and it fits in with a burst of other research pointing in similar directions.

Full report is here.

Staiger’s research is excellent. The problem is that people like Kristof use it as a jumping off point for bold three-part plans or Three Part Plans of Boldness or Boldness Cubed or Great Leap Forward or whatever. Having planners in DC decide whether the bonus should be $15k or $10k or $16,765.34 does not work. Deciding on a national standard for “low-income” is impossible. Central planning and federal control work no better in education than they do in the steel industry. Want poor kids to have a better education? Give them vouchers. Let the market work.

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