Do you believe in our children? If so, you might nurture a hope that the government takes an interest in their future, and that education will once again be properly funded. If and when that happens, you'd do well to look into the major textbook publishers, because their products should be in high demand under that scenario.

McGraw-Hill (NYSE:MHP), the second-largest player on that field, reported earnings yesterday, and the market liked what it saw. Net income per share reached $1.06, up from $1.00 a year ago, on essentially flat revenues. Last year's very successful back-to-school season provided some tough comparisons this time, and the education segment's sales fell short by 6.3%, with 7% lower operational earnings. The difference was made up for by financial services under the Standard & Poor's brand, as well as BusinessWeek, J.D. Power, and their fellow information and media subsidiaries, both of which grew sales as well as operational earnings by double digits.

The textbook market is a tough place. McGraw-Hill is one of the giants, alongside the likes of Scholastic (NASDAQ:SCHL), Reed Elsevier NV (NYSE:ENL), and Thomson (NYSE:TOC). Among the majors, McGraw might be the strongest competitor today, as Scholastic is having trouble hanging on to last year's educational windfalls, and they all sport thinner margins from head to toe than McGraw's -- according to Capital IQ, a division of McGraw-Hill's Standard & Poor's.

But the company isn't satisfied with its operational efficiency yet. In the just-completed quarter, 600 jobs were eliminated, and another 100 are on the chopping block for this quarter. The total restructuring cost is expected to reach $31 million, or $0.06 per share, and the effort is meant to "position us for a return to double-digit earnings growth in 2007."

Cutting 700 jobs sounds harsh, but out of almost 20,000 employees worldwide, it's a far cry from the 10,000-out-of-100,000 literal decimation going on at Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), and I hesitate even to mention Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) in this context. The other cost-cutters are acting out of a position of market weakness, but McGraw is already a leader in many respects, and is still willing to make hard decisions to boost future growth. Allow me to cheer on behalf of the shareholders, even as I weep for the employees.

Further Foolishness:

Intel is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. To see why Philip Durell likes the chip giant, sign up for a free 30-day trial to our bargain-hunting service.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here, but his kids sure have a lot of Scholastic books. You can check out Anders' holdingsif you like. Foolishdisclosureis well-proportioned just the way it is.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.