Drew’s Patrick McGuinn: A National Voice in Education
Professor earns public-influence ranking for the seventh straight year.
January 2017 – For the seventh straight year, Drew University Professor Patrick McGuinn is nationally ranked as a leading voice in education.
McGuinn is among just 200 scholars who made the 2017 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, which recognizes those who shape public discourse on education. He’s also part of a select group of 20 scholars who maxed out on syllabus points based on the number of times their work appeared on college syllabi and how often it was assigned. Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute compiles the rankings.
McGuinn joined Drew in 2005 and teaches political science and education in the College of Liberal Arts and Caspersen School of Graduate Studies. Outside the classroom, he writes and speaks on topics such as No Child Left Behind, Common Core, teacher evaluation and tenure. His latest book is The Convergence of K-12 and Higher Education: Policies and Programs in a Changing Era.
What does this national ranking mean to you and Drew?
When I publish an article or book—or am quoted in the media or make presentations to policymakers—it brings attention to the great scholarship being produced by Drew faculty and our efforts to connect that research to teaching and learning in the classroom. I was particularly pleased to see my research is being widely assigned in undergraduate and graduate classes across the country.
What sparked your passion for education policy?
Growing up in Washington, D.C. at a time when it was one of the most racially and socio-economically segregated cities in America—and which had an education system that mirrored that segregation—was eye-opening. I attended public school until eighth grade and then was fortunate to attend a strong private high school, but the inequities in the city and its schools were perpetually on display.
How did you get into teaching?
After college, I spent three years as a high school government and history teacher in Upper Marlboro, Maryland and began to develop a passion for—and curiosity about—teaching and education. When I arrived in graduate school at UVA in the mid 1990s to study political science, the federal government, under President Clinton, was beginning to make a strong push to get states to raise their academic standards, assess student learning outcomes and hold them accountable for the results. My dissertation (which became my first book) focused on how and why the federal role in education was changing and how its increasing involvement was reshaping the politics of education in our country.
What inspired your latest book?
This volume explores the convergence of U.S. education policy 50 years after the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Higher Education Act of 1965. At the beginning of the 21st century, a mix of political, economic, demographic and technological developments are transforming K-12 and higher education, and with the help of federal policy, narrowing the distance that has long separated the two sectors. My co-editor, Chris Loss, is an expert in higher education policy and I specialize in K-12 education policy. We seemed to be ideally situated to collaborate [and bring] together a nationally recognized group of scholars to analyze how the two sectors have, and have not, converged over the past 50 years and how we might develop more productive synergies across them.