February 2018 – It’s an impressive run.
For the eighth straight year, Drew University Professor Patrick McGuinn is being recognized as a leading voice on national education policy.
McGuinn, who teaches political science and education, is one of just 200 Edu-Scholars nationally—university-based academics who had the biggest influence on educational policy and practice in the past year. The annual list is created by Rick Hess, a blogger for Education Week and a resident scholar and director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
McGuinn’s research focuses on the growing federal role in schools, through initiatives such as the No Child Left Behind law of 2001, which he describes as a “transformative change in education policy.”
“While No Child Left Behind had many flaws, it really forced states to focus attention and resources on student populations—poor, minority, special-needs or English as a Second Language students—who had been ignored previously,” said McGuinn.
The Edu-Scholars list spotlights individuals who expand the education debate beyond academia. That’s essential, McGuinn said, because education is significant to everyone.
“If you’ve got kids in school, nothing is more important to you than their education,” he said. “Even if you don’t, you’re paying a lot in taxes to support schools. And a better education system makes the nation’s economy stronger.”
The professor also highlighted questions about fairness and opportunity in education, with poor and minority students generally having less access to quality schools.
“The United States is supposed to be the land of opportunity, where we have social mobility and if you work hard, you can get ahead,” McGuinn said. “Education is key to all of that. However, the sad fact in the U.S. is that there’s an extremely high correlation between race and class and educational opportunities and educational outcomes.”