David K. Cohen

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
Education specialist; Educator
Social and Behavioral Sciences


David K. Cohen is the John Dewey Collegiate Professor of Education; Professor of Education Policy, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, where he has taught since 1993. A nationally recognized authority on educational reform, he taught at Harvard Graduate School of Education (1971-86) and Michigan State University (1986-93) before coming to the University of Michigan. Earlier, he was a consultant to the general counsel of the NAACP on schools and race (1964-66); director of the Race and Education Project, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1966-67); and president of The Huron Institute (1971-86). Cohen co-directed the Study of Instructional Improvement- a large longitudinal assessment of efforts to improve instruction and learning in reading, language arts, and mathematics in high-poverty elementary schools. He is an expert on merit pay for teachers, both public and private school choice, and the relationship of student curriculum to teacher professional development. His current research interests include educational policy, the relations between policy and instruction, and the improvement of teaching. His past work has included studies of the effects of schooling, various efforts to reform schools and teaching, the evaluation of educational experiments and large-scale intervention programs, and the relations between research and policy. Books include Teaching and Its Predicaments (2011), Learning Policy, with Heather Hill (2001); Usable Knowledge: Social Science and Social Problem Solving, with Charles E. Lindblom (1979); The Shopping Mall High School, with Arthur G. Powell and Eleanor Farrar (1985); and The Ordeal of Equality: Can Federal Regulation Fix the Schools? with Susan L. Moffitt (2009). He serves on the board of trustees of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

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