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Henry M. Levin

Professional Background

Educational Background

  • B.S. in Marketing and Economics, New York University
  • M.A., Ph.D. in Economics, Rutgers University
  • Areas of Specialization: Economics of Education, Economics of Human Resources, Urban Economics, Public Finance, and Education Policy

Scholarly Interests

Economics of education. Cost-effectiveness analysis. School reform. Educational vouchers.

Selected Publications

Cost Effective Analysis: Concepts and Applications, 2nd Ed.(Sage Publications). 

Privatizing Education (Westview Press).

"Educational vouchers: Effectiveness, choice, and costs" (Journal of Policy Analysis and Management).

"Educational performance standards and the economy" (Educational Researcher).

"Accelerated schools: A Decade of Evolution," (International Handbook of Educational Change).

"Accelerating Mathematics Achievement Using Heterogeneous Grouping," with C. C. Burris & J. Heubert,( American Educational Research Journal).

biographical information

Henry M. Levin is the William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, a nonpartisan entity <>. He is also the David Jacks Professor Emeritus of Higher Education and Economics at Stanford University where he served from 1968-99 after working as an economist at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. He is a specialist in the economics of education and human resources and has published 16 books and almost 300 articles on these and related subjects. He has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences and at the Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Tel Aviv, a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Beijing University, and a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. He has served in Fulbright Professorships at the University of Barcelona, Autonoma, and at the Universidad Metropolitana de Mexico, and as Wei Lun Visiting Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

    Levin was the President of the Evaluation Research Society and the recipient of its Gunna Myrdal Prize for Contributions to the Field of Evaluation. He is the former editor of the Review of Educational Research. In 1991 the New York Times named him one of nine national leaders for "Innovation in Education". In 1992 he received the Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Contributions to Education. He has been a member and President of the Palo Alto (California) School Board and has been inducted as a Guest Professor at Beijing University. He is also on the Board of Trustees of the Educational Testing Service and the Vice President of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) to become President in 2008.. At present Levin is doing research on educational reform, educational vouchers, cost-effectiveness analysis, financing educational equity, and educational privatization.

    From 1986-2000 Levin served as the Director of the Accelerated Schools Project <>, a national school reform initiative for accelerating the education of at-risk youngsters. There are presently over 1,000 Accelerated elementary and secondary schools in some 40 states with 50 schools in Hong Kong. His Most recent books are: Cost-Effectiveness Analysis: Methods and Applications (Sage Publications, 2000), Privatizing Education (Westview, 2001), and Privatizing Educational Choice, 2005..

office hours

By appointment.

Documents & Papers

Download: Henry Levin CV [PDF]

Centers and Projects

Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education

CBCSE has an extensive program of training and research and an extensive list of publications on studies of dropout prevention, early literacy, raising community college completion, benefits of social and emotional learning, and many other topics.  It is also the recipient of a three year grant from the Institute of Educational Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education to provide intensive training in cost-effectiveness analysis to educational evaluators.

EPSA Faculty Co-Director: Professor Henry M. Levin

Center on Chinese Education

The Center on Chinese Education, Teachers College Columbia University (CoCE) is aimed at contributing to a better understanding of education in China and to educational exchange between the United States and China. It seeks to achieve this mission through three categories of activities: research and development, education and training, as well as outreach and exchange. These activities will draw upon the historically special relationship between Chinese education and Teachers College, the interests and expertise of the faculty at Teachers College, as well as expertise and resources outside of Teachers College. Major funding for the Center's activities is provided by the Henry Luce Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Contact: Mun C. Tsang

National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education

The National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education (NCSPE) serves as a non-partisan venue to analyze and disseminate information about the contentious private initiatives in education that include vouchers, charter schools and educational contracting. Proponents of privatization view the movement as improving school choice, student outcomes and innovation through competition in the marketplace. They point to the poor performance of urban schools and how competition converts failure into success. Opponents argue that the movement undermines already flagging urban public schools, depriving the system of motivated students and scarce resources to bring about reform and runs counter to the establishment clause embodied in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Currently there is no disinterested authority to test and verify the conflicting claims of proponents and opponents, leaving the debate to those who argue on ideological grounds rather than empirical data. In evaluating different privatization plans, the center uses four criteria: the freedom for parents to choose schools that mirror their values and religious beliefs; productive efficiency that maximizes school results; equity that provides access for all to the range of educational opportunities, and social cohesion that prepares youngsters for democratic and civic participation.

The Privatization Center is affiliated with the Department of International and Transcultural Studies. Its Director is Henry M. Levin, William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education. The Center disseminates its research, policy analysis through conferences, the World Wide Web, publications and the media. It also has entered a partnership with the education commission of the states to provide information to governors, state legislatures and state departments of education.

Contact: Henry Levin

Henry M. Levin appeared in the following articles:

NY Times Op-Ed Cites TC's Levin Study of CUNY Program (1/14/2014 11:05:00 AM)

2013 Year in Review: Research (1/13/2014)

NY Times Op-Ed Cites TC's Levin Study of CUNY Program (1/9/2014)

Henry Levin (10/13/2013)

Determining R.O.I. for Education (6/26/2013)

How to Determine ROI for Education Reform (3/18/2013)

New grant for Henry Levin and the CBCSE, TC News March 18 (3/18/2013)

Henig and Neumann Are Elected Members of the National Academy of Education (2/7/2013)

President Fuhrman, Six Faculty Members Make Rick Hess's 2012 Public Presence Rankings (1/9/2013)

Taking Student Health to Scale (12/7/2012)

TC's Henry Levin Honored by San Marcos University (10/12/2012)

TC's Henry Levin Part of Team on New "Success in Education and Work" Report (7/11/2012)

Six Researchers With TC Ties Interviewed on "Inside the Academy" Site (4/11/2012)

International Conference Will Examine Issues of Validity, Educational Assessment, Equity and Accountability (3/14/2012)

Preventing High School Dropouts More Than Pays for Itself (1/26/2012)

Research Shows Education Investments Pay Off, TC's Henry Levin Tells CNBC (1/25/2012)

White House Summer-Jobs Plan Supported by TC Economic Study (1/10/2012)

What It Takes To Level The Playing Field (12/16/2011)

Menghan Shen: Marshaling the Power of Her Peers (10/10/2011)

The Campaign for Educational Equity Issues Five New White Papers (10/7/2011)

School Law Institute at TC to Feature John King, Gary Orfield and Others (6/21/2011)

TC at AERA 2011 (5/12/2011)

Brooks-Gunn, Ginsburg Elected To National Academy of Education (5/11/2011)

TC at AERA 2011 (4/12/2011)

AERA names David Hansen, Henry Levin and Anna Neumann as Fellows (3/3/2011)

TC's Henry Levin Skeptical About Online Credit Recovery (2/21/2011)

The Best Policy (2/7/2011)


The Best Policy (1/13/2011)

Educating for Tomorrow's Job Market (11/24/2010)

Dear Chancellor-Select: Not That You Asked Us, But... (11/20/2010)

2010-11: The Year of Research at TC (11/17/2010)

The State of the College: It's the Year of Research at TC (10/26/2010)

Meet Our 2010 Graduates (6/24/2010)

How to Educate the Children of China's Migrant Workers? (5/20/2010)

Special Issue of Economics Journal Celebrates Levin's 70th Birthday (5/20/2010)

TC at AERA (5/10/2010)

TC at AERA 2010 (4/30/2010)

AERA 2010 (4/1/2010)

Outsourcing the District Office (4/1/2010)

The Backlash against Charter Schools (3/15/2010)

Educational Equity at the Village Level (8/6/2009)

Shaping Education around the World (7/15/2009)

Educational Equity at the Village Level (4/28/2009)

How to Educate a Workforce on the Move (4/28/2009)

Deja Vu All Over Again: A TC Prof Heads CIES (3/10/2009)

Daring to Change U.S. Education (1/1/2009)

TC Campus News (1/1/2009)

Thinking Big About How to Close the Gap (11/25/2008 3:49:00 PM)

Five Great Educators Who Make a Difference (10/17/2008)

Washington Post columnist looks at a TC Press book featuring Comer and Levin (10/17/2008)

Symposium Asks: Can School Equity Be Created Without First Overcoming the Effects of Poverty? (10/14/2008)

Alumni Council President Message (9/15/2008)

Education Week Spotlight's Levin's Cost-Benefit Analysis Center (4/9/2008)

TC at AERA, 2008 (3/25/2008)

TC and CIES: Showcasing Some of Our Internationally-Minded Faculty (3/14/2008)

New Books from TC Faculty (2/14/2008)

A Field Returns to Its Roots (2/13/2008)

Praise for Sound Thinking (1/25/2008)

New Books from Teachers College Faculty (1/8/2008)

Campus News (10/3/2007)

What Dropouts Are Costing California (9/6/2007)

The Education Guy (9/4/2007)

Free Market Spurs Diverse Offereings of Private Schools (6/18/2007)

What Really Works When It Comes To Closing The Achievement Gap? (5/8/2007)

"A Gift to Society - A New Graduate" (4/11/2007)

Teachers College Research at AERA (3/25/2007)

Economists Tout Value of Reducing Dropouts (2/14/2007)

High school dropouts cost taxpayers billions (2/11/2007)

Troubles Grow for a University Built on Profits (2/11/2007)

More HS Grads = Big Taxpayer Savings (2/7/2007)

More HS Grads = Big Taxpayer Savings (2/7/2007 9:29:00 AM)

Battle Lines Drawn On Military School-Magnet Plan Has Opponents Arguing Whether Program Would Build Character Or Exploit Lower-Income Students (12/4/2006)

Study ranks N.J. first in high school graduation rate (6/22/2006)

NEA Conference Explores Value of Public Education (5/24/2006 9:54:00 AM)

A Contract With America('s Parents) (4/13/2006)

Equity by the Numbers (4/13/2006)

Never Mind the Rhetoric (4/13/2006)

American Educational Research Association Features TC Faculty (4/8/2006)

Costing Out Debate and Other Issues Examined at AEFA Conference (3/29/2006 3:45:00 PM)

Rebell Faces Off with Hoover Fellow over Costing-Out Studies in School Finance Cases (3/21/2006)

Edison Flunks Task At Elementary School (2/9/2006)

Education Myths (1/28/2006)

Benefit of Educational Options Are Clear (12/20/2005)

Education Entrepreuners Seen As Facing Uphill Climb in U.S. Schools (12/12/2005)

Dollars and Sense (11/9/2005)

The Price of Inequity (11/7/2005)

America's Learning Defecit (11/6/2005)

Dropouts Are A Tradition We Can No Longer Afford (11/6/2005)

Campaign for Educational Equity (11/1/2005)

High School Dropouts Have Lower Life Expectancy (10/24/2005)

Rebell on The Open Mind; Levin and Rebell on WNYC (10/18/2005)

The End of an Era (10/11/2005 11:28:00 AM)

How to Eradicate Failed Schools by 2030 (9/26/2005)

Equity Symposium to Present Research (9/14/2005)

Equity Symposium to Present Research (9/7/2005)

Levin Explains Diversification of Education Management Organizations (9/6/2005)

The Social Costs of Inadequate Education: Research Findings (8/24/2005)

Fall Symposium at Teachers College to Focus on Costs of Inadequate Education (6/9/2005)

A Campaign for Equity: Across the State (5/27/2005)

A Campaign for Equity: Throughout the Nation (5/27/2005)

Adding Muscle to the Mission: TC's New Office of Policy and Research (5/27/2005)

Why Should I Worry About Schools My Children Won’t Attend? (5/27/2005)

Private Not Necessarily Better (5/10/2005)

Power Principals (4/12/2005)

Teaching on Principal (4/12/2005)

To Fund or Not to Fund: Policy Experts to Assess Emotionally Charged School Choice Issue (2/28/2005)

To Fund or Not to Fund: Policy Experts to Assess Emotionally Charged School Choice Issue (2/28/2005)

Everywhere and Nowhere (2/23/2005)

Everywhere and Nowhere (2/23/2005)

Everywhere and Nowhere (2/8/2005)

A New Approach to School Finance (1/3/2005)

School Reform Program Goes For-Profit (12/2/2004)

New York City Looks to Connecticut for Charter School Model (7/27/2004)

Not All Students May Be Able to Measure Up (6/21/2004)

Education Policy Panel Discusses the Real-World Impact of No Child Left Behind (6/7/2004)

Diversity and Community Grant Recipients (2/24/2004)

Interrupting Oppression and Sustaining Justice: ICCR'S (2/24/2004)

Florida’s State Pension Fund to Bail Out Edison? (9/29/2003)

Educating Current Leaders in Practice and Policy (8/1/2003)

High School Seniors Get Highest SAT Math Scores in 35 Years (8/1/2003)

Shaping the Public Debate on Education (8/1/2003)

Edison Plans for Its Future (7/1/2003)

NCSPE Hosts Conference on For-Profit Higher Education (5/1/2003)

California Tax Proposal Upsets Wealthy Residents (4/10/2003)

In brief (4/1/2003)

A Milwaukee Election May Test Voters' Views of Vouchers (3/20/2003)

Chatterji Talks about Making and Taking Tests (3/1/2003)

Are For-Profit Schools a Bad Deal for Special Education (11/19/2002 11:15:48 AM)

After 10 Years Edison Still Struggling (11/10/2002)

Court Decision Reversed (10/1/2002)

Critics Doubt For-Profit Edison Schools' Ability to Profit on Education (9/25/2002)

Voucher Reform for New York City Schools? (9/1/2002)

TC for the Plaintiffs: Court Declares State Deprives City Students 'A Sound Basic Education' - Annual Report 2001 (8/31/2002)

Continuing to Repair the World (8/28/2002)

Henry Levin of the Center for Privatization Receives $1 Million from Pew and Ford Foundations (6/1/2002)

Data misinterpreted, botched or lost, can often lead to bad policy decisions (4/8/2002)

Panel Discusses Strategies for Saving NYC Schools (4/1/2002)

Study Finds Test Gains in Accelerated Schools (3/1/2002)

Levin on Cost-Effective Analysis in Education (6/1/2001)

Center on Chinese Education Created at TC (1/1/2001)

Henry Levin Delivers Speech on History and Implications of Vouchers at Founders Day (12/12/2000)

Study Says Education Past High School Depends Largely on Home State (12/5/2000)

High Stakes Testing and Its Effect on Education (12/1/2000)

Solving the Education Equation (12/1/2000)

TC Celebrates Founders Day (12/1/2000)

New Doubt is Cast on Study that Backs Voucher Efforts (9/19/2000)

TC Professor Involved in Nationwide Effort to Develop Urban Education Leaders (7/12/2000)

Corporate America Intent on Finding Profit in Education (4/21/2000)

A Convergence of Public Interest and Public Policy (4/1/2000)

Edison Founder Chris Whittle Wants to Create the Gap of Privatized Public Schools (1/28/2000)

Teachers College: A Leader in Educating Leaders (1/1/2000)

Dr. Frank Newman: Sachs Lecturer and More (9/1/1999)

Experts on Vouchers and Charter Schools Offer Suggestions at Agenda Setting Conference for a TC New Research Center (6/1/1999)

Interview with Professor Henry M. Levin on the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education (6/1/1999)

The National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education (4/8/1999)

Accelerated Schools at Home and Abroad (4/1/1999)

Georgia Alumni Gather at the Governor's Mansion (4/1/1999)

Voucher Plans and Charter Schools To Be Examined April 9-10 at the Inaugural Conference for the Non-Partisan National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education (4/1/1999)

National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education (1/1/1999)

Institute on Education and Government Hands Out Awards and Advice to State Lawmakers and Public Policy Leaders (9/1/1998)

Sachs Lectures Focus on Reform (9/1/1998)

Ten Governors' Chiefs of Staff Get Education Policy Lesson from TC's Institute on Education and Government (5/13/1998)

Henry Levin Presents the Sachs Lectures (4/6/1998)