Salaries matter, class sizes don't

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Get this. What do the Texas high schools that have been most successful in teaching math and science to their students have in common? Higher salaries, higher percentages of qualified teachers and larger class sizes. Music to researcher Eric Hanushek's ears, confirming his take on this issue that has angered the unions for so long.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation examined student scores in math and science on the state TAKS test, ACT, SAT and AP exams. Thirty-nine high schools were identified as high performers, including both rural and urban schools, small and large schools, and schools with high percentages of disadvantaged students.

All 39 schools shared some things in common. They all had larger math and science classes than the state average, and math and science teachers typically earned about $3,000 a year more than other teachers at their schools. The percentages of math and science teachers teaching out of field in these schools were dramatically lower than state averages. In addition, the schools also generally spent less per student than the state average, but dedicated more of their funding to instruction.