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Jeffrey Henig

Professional Background

Educational Background

  • B.A. Government, Cornell University
  • Ph.D. Political Science, Northwestern University

Scholarly Interests

The boundary between private action and public action in addressing social problems. Privatization and school choice, race and urban politics, the politics of urban education reform, the politics of education research.

Selected Publications

  • The End of Exceptionalism in American Education: The changing politics of school reform. Harvard Education Press. Harvard Education Press, 2013.


    Between Public and Private: Politics, Governance, and the New Portfolio Models for Urban School Reform, co-edited with Katrina E. Bulkley and Henry M. Levin, Harvard Education Press, October 2010. Winner of the Districts in Research and Reform SIG 

    Best Book Award, 2012.


    Spin Cycle: How Research Is Used in Policy Debates, The Case of Charter Schools. Russell Sage Foundation/The Century Foundation, 2008. Winner of the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Outstanding Book Award, 2010.


    Mayors in the Middle: Politics, Race and Mayoral Control of Urban Schools, co-edited with Wilbur C. Rich, Princeton University Press, 2004.


    Building Civic Capacity: The Politics of Reforming Urban Schools, co-authored with Clarence N. Stone, Bryan D. Jones, and Carol Pierannunzi. University Press of Kansas, 2001. Named best book published in the field of urban politics in 2001 by the Urban Politics section of the American Political Science Association.


    The Color of School Reform: Race, Politics, and the Challenge of Urban Education, co-authored with Richard Hula, Marion Orr, and Desiree Pedescleaux, Princeton University Press, 1999. Named best book published in the field of urban politics in 1999 by the Urban Politics section of the American Political Science Association.


    Shrinking the State: The Political Underpinnings of Privatization, co-authored with Harvey Feigenbaum and Chris Hamnett, Cambridge University Press, 1998.


                Rethinking School Choice: Limits of the Market Metaphor, Princeton Univ. Press, 1994. Paperback edition with new "Afterword" released in 1995.


    Public Policy and Federalism: Issues in State and Local Politics, St. Martin's Press, 1985.


    Neighborhood Mobilization: Redevelopment and Response, Rutgers University Press, 1982.

biographical information

Jeffrey R. Henig is a professor of political science and education at Teachers College and a professor of political science at Columbia University. He is the author or coauthor of ten books, including The Color of School Reform: Race, Politics and the Challenge of Urban Education (Princeton, 1999) and Building Civic Capacity: The Politics of Reforming Urban Schools  (Kansas, 2001), both of which were named--in 1999 and 2001, respectively--the best book written on urban politics by the Urban Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. Spin Cycle: How Research Gets Used in Policy Debates. The Case of Charter Schools (Russell Sage, 2008) focuses on the controversy surrounding the charter school study by the American Federation of Teachers and its implications for understanding politics, politicization, and the use of research to inform public discourse; it won the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Outstanding Book Award, 2010.  His most recent book, The End of Exceptionalism in American Education, was published by Harvard Education Press in January 2013.

principal publications

Documents & Papers

Download: My TC Picture [Image]

Download: Curriculum Vitae [Word]

Centers and Projects

Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media

The Hechinger Institute exists to equip journalists with the knowledge and skills they need to produce fair, accurate and insightful reporting. Since its launch in 1996, the institute has sponsored more than 63 seminars for journalists who write, editorialize or edit coverage of education.

More than 1,800 journalists have attended Hechinger Institute seminars, which feature top education experts, including faculty from Teachers College. Held at Teachers College and throughout the U.S., Hechinger seminars are designed to create an intimate, salon-like atmosphere in which all of the participants and presenters are encouraged to participate.

The institute also produces primers and publications on timely topics in education, from covering higher education to understanding teachers unions. The institute maintains a website with resources related to seminar topics along with a blog on early childhood issues. In 2007, the institute is sponsoring "Covering America, Covering Community Colleges" a fellowship designed to encourage and promote in-depth coverage of community colleges for print and broadcast reporters, online and editorial writers.
The Hechinger Institute's director is Richard Lee Colvin, the former lead education writer for the Los Angeles Times who spent much of his career writing about education for newspapers in California. The assistant director is Liz Willen, a former education writer for Newsday and Bloomberg News.

The institute is supported by a variety of private philanthropies, including the John S. and James Knight Foundation, the Broad Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Joyce Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, Harold W. McGraw Jr., chairman emeritus of the McGraw-Hill Companies, the Cotsen Family Foundation, the Lumina Foundation for Education and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is named in memory of Fred M. Hechinger, a former education editor of the New York Times and a trustee of Teachers College.

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

Jeffrey Henig appeared in the following articles:

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

TC President, 11 Faculty Make 2014 EduScholar Public Influence Rankings (1/9/2014)

Can History Point to What Ails Educational Testing Today? (11/22/2013)

Putting Standards to the Test (6/26/2013)

TC's Jeff Henig: Income Gap in Education is "Stubborn" (5/2/2013)

Professor Jeffrey Henig (3/18/2013)

Professor Jeffrey Henig (3/15/2013)

TC's Bailey, Henig, Wells Named AERA Fellows (3/14/2013)

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

Jeffrey Henig Reads the Future of Education Policy (1/11/2013)

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

Seven TC Scholars Make 2013 Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings (1/9/2013)

The Elephant in the Classroom (12/7/2012)

Kossoff Lecture at TC Features Education Debate Between Advisers to Candidates Obama and Romney (10/17/2012)

Jeffrey Henig: Rocketship and Teach for American Partnership Attracts "Young, Eager" Teachers (10/15/2012)

A Consensus that Poverty Really Does Influence Education Outcomes (9/27/2012)

TC's Jeff Henig: Chicago Teachers' Strike Like Battles in Other Cities With Mayor-Controlled Schools (9/12/2012)

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

Henig: Charter Schools "Can Stir Opposition" From Public-School Loyalists (3/12/2012)

How Should Politics Influence Education Policy? (2/11/2012)

Bringing TC Together (12/20/2011)

Panel at Harvard to Dicuss Prof. Rebell's Proposal for Establishing Comprehensive Educational Opportunity as a Legal Right (9/27/2011)

TC's Jeff Henig Says Sophisticated Data Mining Can Help Guide Policy Decisions in Schools (7/26/2011)

What Do Teachers Want? (7/25/2011)

A Call for Education Schools to Reassert Themselves on National Policy Questions (6/8/2011)

TC Short Takes (6/1/2011)

American Schools Will Not Hit Proficiency Marks Unless They Attend to Nonschool Factors (5/25/2011)

Policy by Department (5/20/2011)

The Education Broker (5/20/2011)

Seven Alumni Honored at 2011 Academic Festival (5/4/2011)

The Best Policy (2/7/2011)

Bloomberg News Quotes Henig on NJ Governor Christie (1/24/2011)


The Best Policy (1/13/2011)

TC's Henig Says Rhee Seen as "Divisive" (1/12/2011)

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)


Waiting for Superman Screens at TC (10/13/2010)

TC Faculty: American Education Can't Wait for "Superman" (10/2/2010)

TC Faculty Still "Waiting for Superman" (9/20/2010)

Rebell, Henig Weigh In On Federal Teachers Jobs Bill (8/12/2010)

An AERA Trifecta (6/24/2010)

Jeffrey Henig and Edmund Gordon Honored at AERA (5/6/2010)

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

Stanford study shows many city charters besting district schools (1/20/2010)

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

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

TC at AERA (4/21/2009)

TC's Henig Appears On Anderson Cooper 360 (2/1/2009)

Jeffrey Henig Analyzes Views of Education Secretary-designate (1/23/2009)

Debating the Future of U.S. Education (1/15/2009)

New York Professor Says KIPP Isn't a Magic Bullet; KIPP Founder Says, Hey You are Right (11/11/2008)

What's The Big Idea? (11/11/2008)

Different Schools of Thought (10/24/2008)

Welcoming a Diverse Class (10/10/2008)

KIPP Study Finds High Student Attrition Amid Big Learning Gains (9/24/2008)

Understanding Education Research: Tips, Tools and Advice for Journalists from Teachers College (8/11/2008)

When Universities Run Schools ... Into the Ground (7/8/2008)

Talking Past One Another [First Editions] (4/1/2008)

Henig Speaks Out on Research, Policymaking and the Press (2/8/2008)

Small Number of U.S. Schools Leaving Federal Money Behind (1/28/2008)

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

On Reading, Charters Outperform (5/29/2007)

Education Researchers and Policy Makers Still Not in Sync, Scholars Say (5/22/2007)

KIPP charter schools expanding in failure-filled industry (4/17/2007)

States Lax in Overseeing NCLB Tutoring (3/15/2007)

Climate of Controversy (12/12/2006)

Equity Symposium to Focus on NCLB at Midpoint (11/6/2006)

Little Applause for Idea of Privatizing Control Over Some City Public Schools (10/6/2006)

TC: America's Policy Mecca (9/18/2006 1:27:00 PM)

Opting out of Private School (9/15/2006 2:08:00 PM)

School Choice Popular, But Impact is Murky (4/10/2006)

The ABCs of Mayoral Control of Schools (2/27/2006)

D.C. Voucher Program Gets Mixed Reviews From Families (11/14/2005)

Glass Half Full (10/11/2005 2:44:00 PM)

It's Not Just Academic (10/11/2005)

Study Finds Big Gains For KIPP (8/16/2005)

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

Research in 2004 (5/27/2005)

Democratic Focus May Shift with Test Score Gains (5/23/2005)

Everywhere and Nowhere (2/23/2005)

Everywhere and Nowhere (2/23/2005)

Everywhere and Nowhere (2/8/2005)

Un-Chartered Territory? (1/13/2005)

Charter Schools Can Be Big and Bureaucratic, Too, Study Finds: For-Profit Charters Often Replicate Size and Top-Down Decision-Making of Public Schools (12/21/2004)

2003 at Teachers College (8/31/2004)

Freedom of Choice (6/1/2004)

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

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

First National Commission on Choice in K-12 Education Urges More Funding for Charters and Vouchers, More Autonomy to Hire and Fire (2/24/2004)

Henig on NPR (12/19/2003 10:09:46 PM)

Henig on NPR (12/8/2003)

National Commission on Choice in K-12 Education Urges More Funding For Charters and Vouchers (11/26/2003)

Chartered Schools: Evaluation Strategies (10/8/2003)

Henig Comments on D.C. Charter Schools (6/19/2003)

Klein Reveals How He Chose Top Schools (2/14/2003)

Switching to Charter Schools May Get Florida School District More Than They Bargained For (1/27/2003)

TC Welcomes New Members to the Faculty (10/1/2002)

Working to Make Equity in Education a Reality (10/1/2002)

TC Expert Source Guide (1/1/1900)