Curran

F. Chris Curran

Assistant Professor of Public Policy, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
Areas of Expertise:
  • Inequality & the Middle Class
  • K-12 Education
  • Race & Ethnicity

About F.

Curran is an expert on K-12 education policy. His research focuses on issues of school discipline and student safety, early childhood and elementary education, and teacher human capital.  A common thread through his work is a focus on the evaluation of policies and practices aimed at improving educational equity for traditionally disadvantaged groups of students.  Recent work includes an examination of the impact of state mandatory expulsion laws on the black-white discipline gap as well as an examination of the policy diffusion of universal preschool. Curran has experience as a middle school science teacher and department chair as well as a metropolitan government employee. Recently, he assisted the Metro Nashville Planning Department with the development of a twenty five year strategic plan, lending his expertise to their development of a long-term vision for education and youth.

Podcast

Publications

"Estimating the Effect of State Zero Tolerance Laws on Exclusionary Discipline, Racial Discipline Gaps, and Student Behavior" Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 38, no. 4 (2016): 647-668.

Examines the impact of state mandatory expulsion laws on rates of suspension and principals’ ratings of problem behavior.  Findings show that these state zero tolerance laws may increase suspension use without reducing problem behaviors in schools.

"Understanding Science Achievement Gaps by Race/Ethnicity and Gender in Kindergarten and First Grade" (with Ann Kellogg). Educational Researcher 45, no. 5 (2016): 273-282.
"Teach for America Placement and Teacher Vacancies: Evidence from the Mississippi Delta" Teachers College Record 119, no. 2 (2017): 1-24.

Examines the impact of TFA presence on school districts’ advertised teacher vacancies.  Findings indicate that TFA reduces the number of vacancies advertised by a school district thereby potentially addressing teacher shortages.

"The Law, Policy, and Portrayal of Zero Tolerance School Discipline: Examining Prevalence and Characteristics Across Levels of Governance and School Districts" Educational Policy (2017): 1-39.

Documents the prevalence of zero tolerance school discipline laws and policies at the national, state, and school district level.  Demonstrates that school districts serving larger proportions of Black students are more likely to have mandatory expulsion policies for certain offenses.

"New Evidence on Teacher Labor Supply" (with Mimi Engel and Brian Jacob). American Educational Research Journal 51, no. 1 (2014): 36-72.

Examines teacher preferences for schools by examining their application patterns at a job fair for the Chicago Public Schools. Indicates that schools serving more advantaged students have more applicants per vacancy and that geography is an important predictor of application.

"Academic Content, Student Learning, and the Persistence of Preschool Effects" (with Amy Claessens and Mimi Engel). American Educational Research Journal 51, no. 2 (2014): 403-434.

Examines the relationship between the teaching of advanced academic content in kindergarten and student achievement. Indicates that all students benefit from exposure to advanced mathematics and reading, regardless of incoming skills or preschool experience.

"The Effects of Maternal Depression on Child Outcomes during the First Years of Formal Schooling" (with Amy Claessens and Mimi Engel). Early Childhood Research Quarterly 32, no. 3 (2015): 80-93.

Utilizes nationally representative data from the ECLS-K to examine the relationship between maternal depression and elementary school student outcomes. Argues that persistent depression predicts negative behavior, lower academic achievement, and increased absenteeism.

"Expanding Downward: Innovation, Diffusion, and State Policy Adoptions of Universal Preschool" Education Policy Analysis Archives 23, no. 36 (2015).

Examines the political and contextual predictors of state adoption of universal preschool policies. Demonstrates that Democratic control of the state legislature and prior presence of a targeted preschool program are significant predictors of state adoption of universal preschool.

In the News

"A School Resource Officer in Every School?," F. Chris Curran, The Conversation, April 11, 2018.
"Federal Spending Bill Deals Blow to School Safety Research," F. Chris Curran, The Conversation, March 29, 2018.
F. Chris Curran quoted in Sean Mulkerrin, "Analysis: No Quick Fix for Growing Student Poverty" The Altamont Enterprise, November 30, 2017.
F. Chris Curran's research on achievement gaps in kindergarten and first grade discussed in Jackie ZubrzyckiF. Chris Curran, "In Kindergarten, There is No STEM Gender Gap," Education Week, August 22, 2016.
F. Chris Curran's research on achievement gaps in kindergarten and first grade discussed in Audrey Cleo YapF. Chris Curran, "A New Generation of All-Girls Schools," The Atlantic, October 14, 2016.
"Alabama Schools Still Use Zero Tolerance Policies Shown to Have Little Effect," F. Chris Curran, Alabama Media Group, October 31, 2016.
"Zero Tolerance Laws Increase Suspension rates for Black Students," F. Chris Curran, Education, The Conversation, July 24, 2016.
"Science Achievement Gaps Start Early - in Kindergarten," F. Chris Curran, Education, The Conversation, September 14, 2016.
"Now That Nashville Next Has Been Approved, What’s Next?," F. Chris Curran (with Claire Smrekar), The Tennessean, August 7, 2015.
"Overtime-Pay Conversation Should Include Teachers," F. Chris Curran, Education Week, August 18, 2015.
"Improve Baltimore Schools to Attract Families," F. Chris Curran, Baltimore Sun, November 20, 2015.