Profit of Education

by Dick Startz


America's public education system can be fixed if we are willing to rethink the teaching profession. We need to treat teachers as we do other skilled professionals, recruiting and retaining the best and rewarding them for success. And we need to raise teacher salaries 40 percent—an increase that can pay for itself nine times over!

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Cover image for Profit of Education

October 2010


Pages 230
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Current Events and Issues/Education

This important book translates evidence and examines policy, proposing a plan to save America's schools by rewarding teachers with professional-level salaries distributed wisely.

Profit of Education makes it clear that rethinking the teaching profession is the key to repairing America's broken-down education system and securing our nation's future. Accomplishing that, author Dick Startz says, requires lifting teacher pay to professional levels and rewarding teachers for student success, with the goal of improving student learning by the equivalent of one extra year of schooling.

Profit of Education takes the reader on a chapter-by-chapter walk through the evidence on pay-oriented, teacher-centric reform of the public school system, showing that such an approach can work. Startz translates the extensive scientific evidence on school reform into easily understood terms, demonstrating the enormous difference teachers make in student outcomes. Proposed levels of teacher salaries are established, and the difficult issue of differential pay is examined in depth, as are many of the practical and political issues involved in measuring teacher success. Last, but hardly least, Startz shows how teacher-centric school reform will pay off for the taxpayer and the economy.


  • 26 easily understood charts and tables that translate the evidence for a broad audience
  • Pay system mock-ups
  • A reproducible, one-page action checklist


  • Outlines a plan to save our schools, improving student outcomes by the equivalent of one additional year of learning
  • Ties together evidence and policy, documenting the science of what's needed and a plan to get there
  • Shows how the program will pay for itself
  • Emphasizes the links between evidence and action
Author Info

Dick Startz is Castor Professor of Economics and adjunct professor of statistics at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA. He is the coauthor of the internationally acclaimed textbook, Lectures on Macroeconomics and author of three books on personal computing, as well as many articles in the areas of econometrics, macroeconomics, and labor economics.



"The best book I have read in the past year. . . . Someone sent me a note suggesting I read a draft, and I begrudgingly agreed, only to be blown away by its content. It does an amazing job, making a well-articulated and -supported argument for why some teachers need to make a lot more money. He pulls together some research you've likely seen, but also some you probably haven't—and I've subsequently borrowed a lot of it for my own presentations. Put Profit of Education on your 2011 book list."

"Thoughtful, accessible, and timely. . . . Highly recommended."Choice


"Dick Startz has written a provocative and interesting book about how we support and compensate teachers. His recommendations are practical, timely, and most importantly, will help improve education for our Nation's children."—Joel Klein, Chancellor, New York City school system

"What a wonderful surprise it was to read this book. Startz, a newcomer to teacher policy, pulls off a feat managed by few veterans of the field. Using layman's terms without compromising a whit on his economist credentials, he lays out a highly persuasive argument for why we need to pay great teachers a lot more money and how it can be done. What Freakonomics did in raising our collective economic literacy, this book does for the economics of schooling."—Kate Walsh, President, National Council on Teacher Quality

"The clearest and most forceful books in education invariably tend to be ideological statements that at best twist existing evidence on what can improve student outcomes. And that is what makes the contrast with this book so great. Here we have a clear and visionary statement that is completely based on existing research and evidence—evidence that is presented accurately in a lively and well-written book that should be read by everybody who wants to improve our schools."—Eric A. Hanushek, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution of Stanford University

Look Inside

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A Call for Character Education and Prayer in the Schools cover imageThe Lowering of Higher Education in America cover imageThe Business of Higher Education cover image

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