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Priscilla Wohlstetter

Professional Background

Educational Background

B.A., Simmons College; M.Ed., Harvard University; Ph.D., Northwestern University

Scholarly Interests

Policy and politics of K-12 urban education, school governance and school performance, charter schools and charter management organizations (CMOs), parent involvement in schools of choice, public-private partnerships, implementation of the Common Core State Standards, school networks, and intermediary organizations.

Selected Publications

Marsh, J.A. & Wohlstetter, P. (2013). Recent trends in intergovernmental relations: The resurgence of local actors in education policy. Educational Researcher, 42(5), pp. 276-283.

Farrell, C., Nayfack, M., Smith, J., & Wohlstetter, P. (in press). One size does not fit all: Understanding the variation in charter management scale-up. Journal of Educational Change.

Wohlstetter, P., Smith, J., & Gallagher, A. (2013). New York City's Children First Networks: Turning Accountability on Its Head. Journal of Educational Administration, 51(4), 528-549.

Wohlstetter, P., Smith, J., & Farrell, C.C. (2013). Choices and Challenges: Charter School Performance in Perspective. Harvard Education Press.

Farrell. C., Wohlstetter, P. & Smith, J. (2012). Charter management organizations: An emerging approach to scaling-up what works. Educational Policy, 26(4), 499-532.

Hentschke, G., Wohlstetter, P., Hirman, J., & Zeehandelaar, D. (2011). Using state-wide multiple measures for school leadership and management: Costs incurred vs. benefits gained. School Leadership & Management, 31(1), 21-34.

Thomas, A. & Wohlstetter, P. (2010, May). Six keys to success: Districts attempting urban reforms can learn from strategies that work. American School Board Journal. Alexandra, VA: National School Boards Association, 197(5), 36-38.

Wohlstetter, P. & Smith, J. (2010). Uncommon players, common goals: Partnerships in charter schools. In C. Lubienski & P.C. Weitzel, The charter school experiment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Nayfack, M., Hentschke, G. & Wohlstetter, P. (2009, March). Exploring superintendent leadership in smaller urban districts: Does district size influence superintendent behavior? Education and Urban Society, 41(3), 317-337.

Wohlstetter, P., Datnow, A. & Park, V. (2007). Creating a system for data-driven decision-making: Applying the principal-agent framework. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 19(3), 239-259.

Wohlstetter, P., Malloy, C.L., Hentschke, G. & Smith, J. (2004, December). Improving service delivery in education through collaboration: The role of cross-sectoral alliances in the development and support of charter schools. Social Science Quarterly, 85(5), 1078-1096.

Wohlstetter, P. & Chau, D. (2003). Does autonomy matter? Implementing research-based practices in charter and other public schools. In K. Bulkley & P. Wohlstetter (Eds.), Taking account of charter schools: What’s happened and what’s next? New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Wohlstetter, P., Malloy, C.L., Chau, D., & Polhemus, J.L. (2003, September). Improving schools through networks: A new approach to urban school reform. Educational Policy, 17(4), 399-430.

current projects

biographical information

Priscilla Wohlstetter is Distinguished Research Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, and also a Senior Research Fellow with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE). Wohlstetter was the Tisch Distinguished Visiting Professor at Teachers College prior to her faculty appointment in the Department of Education Policy & Social Analysis. Before coming to TC, she held the Diane and MacDonald Becket Professorship in Education Policy at the University of Southern California, where she also founded and directed the Center on Educational Governance.

Her research and writing has focused broadly on the policies and politics of K-12 education reform and specifically on charter schools, public-private partnerships, school decentralization, school networks, and most recently, implementation of the Common Core State Standards. She has served as principal investigator for numerous national and international studies focusing on federal, state and local reforms. She directed a national study of charter schools and public-private partnerships, and served as co-director of the National Resource Center for Charter School Finance and Governance, both funded by the U.S. Department of Education. With support from several foundations, she developed a state accountability system (California School Performance Dashboard), which compares California charter schools on 12 academic and financial indices. Her new book, Choices and Challenges: Charter School Performance in Perspective, was recently published by the Harvard Education Press.

custom course list

EDPS 5645: The Craft of Policy Analysis (formerly Policy Seminar I)

Documents & Papers

Centers and Projects

Consortium for Policy Research in Education