Douglas Reed is an Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, specializing in the politics of education, federalism and American political development, He is director of the newly-created Program in Education, Inquiry and Justice at Georgetown and is the author of the forthcoming book Building the Federal Schoolhouse: Localism and the American Education State (2014). He has written extensively on race and education and the role of local control. He earned his Phd at Yale University and was a Spencer Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow, an Advanced Studies Fellow at Brown University as well as a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution and a Carnegie Corporation Scholar.

Project Summary

Calls to improve the U.S. educational system in order to boost the nation’s economic competiveness have grown increasingly common and intense. Proposals have ranged from changing teacher tenure requirements to longer school days to increased attention to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math instruction (STEM). Because, the argument goes, U.S. students perform at a middling level on international tests, higher and more robust academic standards -- in the form of the Common Core -- are needed to ensure that the U.S. workforce has the skills and analytical abilities to compete internationally. This book-length project examines the origins of low and unequal standards, arguing that they emerged from a "politics of proficiency," largely anchored in unequal educational expenditures. As a result, the Common Core -- on its own -- lacks a framework to address the political origins of low and unequal standards, jeopardizing the effort to improve economic competitiveness through education reform.

Major Publications

  • On Equal Terms: The Constitutional Politics of Educational Opportunity (Princeton Univ. Press, 2001)
  • “Is There an Expectations Gap? Educational Federalism and the Demographic Distribution of Proficiency Cut Scores,” American Educational Research Journal, vol. 46, no. 3, pp718-742 (Sep. 2009)
  • Building the Federal Schoolhouse: Localism and the American Education State (forthcoming, Oxford Univ. Press, 2014)