JackSchneiderAuthor Photo A.jpg

Jack Schneider

Dwight W. Allen Distinguished Professor of Education, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Chapter Member: Boston SSN
Areas of Expertise:

Connect with Jack

About Jack

Schneider is a historian and policy analyst who studies the influence of politics, rhetoric, culture, and information in shaping attitudes and behaviors. His work explores why particular ideas gain policy traction, how public perceptions of schools take shape, why education reform so often fails, and how organizations can use data to empower stakeholders. Along with journalist Jennifer Berkshire, he co-hosts the education policy podcast “Have You Heard."


No Jargon Podcast

In the News

Opinion: "Public Schools Are in Danger," Jack Schneider, The New Republic, May 16, 2023.
Opinion: "Why Is the Republican Party Suddenly Weakening Child Labor Laws?," Jack Schneider (with Jennifer C. Berkshire), The Nation, March 16, 2023.
Opinion: "The Broken Promise of “College for Everyone”," Jack Schneider (with Jennifer C. Berkshire), The New Republic, February 27, 2023.
Opinion: "If You Think Republicans Are Overplaying Schools, You Aren’t Paying Attention," Jack Schneider, The New York Times, March 21, 2022.
Opinion: "GOP Critical Race Theory Attack Is Straight From Reagan’s School Privatization Playbook," Jack Schneider (with Jennifer C. Berkshire), The San Francisco Chronicle, June 27, 2021.
Opinion: "What’s Joe Biden’s Plan for Education?," Jack Schneider (with Jennifer C. Berkshire), The Nation, June 15, 2021.
Opinion: "How DeVos May Have Started a Counterrevolution in Education," Jack Schneider (with Jennifer C. Berkshire), The New York Times, December 1, 2020.
Opinion: "The Future of Public Education Will Be Decided in the 2020 Election | Opinion," Jack Schneider (with Jennifer Berkshire and Derek Black), The Philadelphia Enquirer, October 21, 2020.
Opinion: "Pass-Fail Raises the Question: What’s the Point of Grades?," Jack Schneider, The New York Times, June 25, 2020.
Opinion: "There’s a Better Way to Pick Schools Than Denver’s Rating System," Jack Schneider (with Paul Vranas), The Denver Post , January 23, 2020.
Interviewed in "After Backlash, State Scraps Controversial MCAS Question," Radio Boston, April 4, 2019.
Research discussed by Joe Pinsker, in "The Cult of Homework," The Atlantic, March 28, 2019.
Opinion: "Betsy DeVos Is Fabricating History to Sell a Bad Education Policy," Jack Schneider, The New Republic, January 28, 2019.
Opinion: "America’s Public Schools Seldom Bring Rich and Poor Together – and MLK Would Disapprove," Jack Schneider, The Conversation, January 18, 2019.
Opinion: "George H.W. Bush Laid the Foundation for Education Reform," Jack Schneider, The Conversation, December 3, 2018.
Opinion: "New Civics Education Law Misses the Mark," Jack Schneider, CommonWealth Magazine, November 10, 2018.
Opinion: "How are America’s Public Schools Really Doing?," Jack Schneider, The Washington Post, October 15, 2018.
Co-Host by Jack Schneider to Have You Heard Podcast.
Opinion: "What School-Funding Debates Ignore," Jack Schneider, The Atlantic, January 22, 2018.
Quoted by Sean Mulkerrin in "Analysis: No Quick Fix for Growing Student Poverty," The Altamont Enterprise, November 30, 2017.
Quoted by Connor Cumminksey in "School Tests Limited in What They Can Measure, Experts Say," The Journal, November 5, 2017.
Opinion: "Betsy DeVos Doesn't Understand How Markets Really Work," Jack Schneider, Washington Monthly, October 27, 2017.
Opinion: "The Urban-School Stigma," Jack Schneider, The Atlantic, August 25, 2017.
Opinion: "Why Americans Think So Poorly of the Country's Schools," Jack Schneider, The Atlantic, July 17, 2017.
Opinion: "Charter Cap Debate Clouds Original Intent," Jack Schneider, CommonWealth Magazine, October 10, 2016.
Opinion: "What Makes a Level 1 School?," Jack Schneider, CommonWealth Magazine, September 27, 2016.
Opinion: "America's Not-So-Broken Education System," Jack Schneider, The Atlantic, June 23, 2016.
Opinion: "American Schools are Modeled after Factories and Treat Students Like Widgets. Right? Wrong.," Jack Schneider, The Washington Post, October 10, 2015.
Quoted by Amy Scott in "High School is Too Old School," Marketplace, September 18, 2015.
Interviewed in "U.S. Public Schools are Better than They've Ever Been," Vox, October 13, 2014.
Opinion: "Making It Easier to Fire Teachers Won't Get You Better Ones," Jack Schneider, Los Angeles Times, June 10, 2014.
Opinion: "Better Ways to Grade Public Schools," Jack Schneider, Los Angeles Times, November 14, 2013.
Opinion: "Long History of U.S. Shootings Means Obama is Right, NRA is Wrong," Jack Schneider, Christian Science Monitor, January 16, 2013.
Opinion: "No Magic Solution for Schools," Jack Schneider, Minneapolis Star Tribune, February 1, 2012.
Opinion: "'Gut Instincts': Are We Really Better off Not Thinking?," Jack Schneider, Los Angeles Times, November 13, 2011.
Opinion: "Let's Tackle Education Funding Once and for All," Jack Schneider, USA Today, April 9, 2009.
Opinion: "How to Shape New U.S. Citizens," Jack Schneider, Christian Science Monitor, August 4, 2008.
Opinion: "Segregation Forever: Why Integration Never Came to the LAUSD," Jack Schneider, Los Angeles Daily News, June 21, 2008.
Opinion: "Schools' Unrest over the AP Test," Jack Schneider, Christian Science Monitor, May 28, 2008.
Opinion: "Advanced Placement, Academic Segregation," Jack Schneider, Oakland Tribune, June 2, 2007.
Regular contributions by Jack Schneider to Education Week's K-12 Schools: Beyond the Rhetoric Blog.


"Off the Mark" (with Ethan L. Hutt) (Harvard University Press, 2023).

Explains the shortcomings of our present approach to assessing student learning and why we remain beholden to grades, test scores, and transcripts. Eschewing simplistic reforms, offers a plan for transforming assessment in a manner that elevates student learning.

"A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School" (with Jennifer Berkshire) (The New Press, 2023).

Shows an analysis of the predatory, profit-seeking forces that threaten our nation’s public schools. Looks at the policies—school vouchers, the war on teachers’ unions, tax credit scholarships, virtual schools, and more—driving the privatization movement’s agenda. Offers a close look at the policies—school vouchers, the war on teachers’ unions, tax credit scholarships, virtual schools, and more—driving the movement’s agenda. Makes a compelling case that, based on our current trajectory, a nightmare future is closer than we think.”

"In Praise of Ordinary Measures: The Present Limits and Future Possibilities of Educational Accountability" (with Derek Gottlieb). Educational Theory 71, no. 4 (2021): 455-473.

Discusses the limitations of present accountability systems and advocates for the inclusion of “ordinary measures," which have the potential to clarify the picture of schools that good governance depends on. Explains that long positioned as inferior to their formal counterparts, such measures offer much to clarify the picture of schools that good governance depends on. Shows ordinary measures, paired with deliberative evaluation processes, will improve the validity and utility of educational accountability systems.

"Student Experience Outcomes in Racially Integrated Schools: Looking Beyond Test Scores in Six Districts" (with Peter Piazza, Ashley Carey, and Rachel S. White). Education and Urban Society 54, no. 3 (2021).

Examines eight social and emotional outcomes (e.g., student engagement, sense of belonging), analyzing differences for students who attend racially diverse schools. Finds that racially diverse schools are associated with more positive social and emotional outcomes for all students.

"Adding “Student Voice” to the Mix: Perception Surveys and State Accountability Systems" (with James Noonan, Ashley Carey, and Rachel S. White). AERA Open (2021).

Shows that student survey results introduce information about school quality that is not captured by typical accountability metrics which correlates moderately with test score growth, and are not predicted by student demographic variables. Draws on a unique set of student survey data, which we add to the state’s formula at a maximally feasible dosage in order to determine new school ratings. Finds student survey data shift school accountability ratings in small but meaningful ways and appear to enhance functional validity. 

"Authority and Control: The Tension at the Heart of Standards-Based Accountability" (with Andrew Saultz). Harvard Educational Review 90, no. 3 (2020): 419–445.

Offers a new perspective on state and federal power through an analysis of the concepts of authority and control. Illustrates that due to limitations inherent to centralized governance, state and federal offices of education exercised little control over schools across much of the twentieth century, even as they acquired considerable authority. Examines how state and federal offices have managed this dilemma through ceremonial reform, looking at two high-profile examples: the transition from No Child Left Behind to the Every Student Succeeds Act, and states’ reaction to public criticism of the Common Core State Standards.

"Beyond Test Scores: A Better Way to Measure School Quality" (Harvard University Press, 2017).

Reframes current debates over school quality by offering new approaches to educational data that push past the unproductive fixation on test scores. Develops a new framework to more fairly and comprehensively assess educational effectiveness.

"The (Mis)measure of Schools: How Data Affect Stakeholder Knowledge and Perceptions of Quality" (with Rebecca Jacobsen, Rachel White, and Hunter Gehlbach). Teachers College Record (forthcoming).

This article examines the influence of test scores and more holistic measures of school quality in shaping public understandings of familiar and unfamiliar schools.

"The Best of Both Worlds" (with Joe Feldman and Dan French). Phi Delta Kappan 98, no. 3 (November 2016): 60-67.

Argues that replacing machine-scored standardized tests with teacher-rated classroom assignments and accurate grading may represent our best hope for promoting both accountability and instruction. 

"Closing the Gap... Between the University and Schoolhouse" Phi Delta Kappan 96, no. 1 (September 2014): 30-35.

Argues that research is often applied when scholars know how to make their work visible to teachers, friendly to their worldview, practical for use by K-12 schools, and easy to share, but this doesn't ensure the quality or effectiveness of the research. 

"From the Ivory Tower to the Schoolhouse: How Scholarship Becomes Common Knowledge in Education" (Harvard Education Press, 2014).
Explores the relationship between research and practice in education, outlining challenges and opportunities for moving scholarship into K-12 classrooms.
"Excellence for All: How a New Breed of Reformers is Transforming America’s Public Schools" (Vanderbilt University Press, 2011).
Reveals the philosophical and ideological underpinnings of the contemporary school reform movement, using three high-profile reforms as case studies.