James Guthrie

James W. Guthrie, as of January 2010, assumed a newly created position as the first appointed senior fellow and director of education policy studies at the George W. Bush Institute, a component of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, located on the Southern Methodist University campus (SMU) in Dallas, Texas. He holds a concurrent position as professor of public policy and education in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at SMU. Professor Guthrie formerly was the Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy, and director of the Peabody Center for Education Policy at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. From 1999 through 2009, he served as chair of Peabody College’s Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, the nation’s highest ranked university educational administration department. He instructed both undergraduate and graduate courses, and conducted research on education policy and finance. Professor Guthrie is founder and chairman of the board of Management Analysis & Planning, Inc. (MAP), a private sector management consulting firm specializing in public finance, organizational studies, and litigation support, located in Davis, California. He is the founder and president of Class Act Partners (CAP), a corporation specializing in the printed and electronic provision of research based materials for education professionals. Previously a professor at the University of California, Berkeley for 27 years, Professor Guthrie holds a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Stanford University, and undertook postdoctoral study in public finance at Harvard. He also was a postdoctoral fellow at Oxford Brookes College, Oxford, England, and the Irving R. Melbo Visiting Professor at the University of Southern California. Professor Guthrie has been a consultant to the governments of Armenia, Australia, Chile, Guyana, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Romania, and South Africa, and has had extensive experience in consulting for The World Bank, UNESCO, OECD, and the Organization of American States. He is the author or co-author of 20 books, and more than 200 professional and scholarly articles. He is past president of the American Education Finance Association, former vice president of the American Education Research Association, served as editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Education, published in 2002, and is series editor of the multi-volume Peabody Education Leadership Series. He served as principal investigator for the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University, a federally funded research center concentrating on educator performance incentives, and as policy director for he Center For Educator Compensation Reform (CECR), a federally funded effort to assist schools in altering their personnel practices and remuneration patterns. Professor Guthrie was recently selected to serve as editor-in-chief for the Oxford Bibliography Online, an Oxford University Press project to organize, appraise, and distribute evidence and information regarding all facets of education in the Untied States and worldwide.

Published Articles & Media

  • Public Schools and Money
    Strategies for improving productivity in times of austerity
  • Appraising Education Reform, Part 2: Has Reform Been Genuine?
    The end of the decade has inspired me to reflect on contemporary efforts at education reform in the U.S., and to suggest next steps. This blog entry, in which I investigate whether the U.S. has genuinely tried to reform its schools, is the second part of what will ultimately be a three-part series.
  • Appraising Education Reform, Part 1: A Failed System
    The end of the decade has inspired me to reflect on contemporary efforts at education reform in the U.S., and to suggest next steps. This blog entry, in which I review the evidence of failure of our education system and explain the challenge created by rapid globalization, is the first part of what will ultimately be a 3-part series.
  • Do Teachers Need Extrinsic Rewards like Performance Pay?
    Richard Rothstein recently posed an interesting question. He asked, in effect, “why do performance pay advocates assume teachers need added motivation? Is there not evidence already that they are motivated?” As support for his position that teachers, generally, are motivated, Richard referred to gains in the fourth grade mathematics scores on NAEP for African American youngsters. In thinking about Richard’s postulate, I consulted with a number of the nation’s experts regarding reading and mathematics instruction. The general consensus is that the rise in NAEP math scores for African American students provides virtually no support for this contention.
  • The Phony Funding Crisis
    Even in the worst of times, schools have money to spend
  • Think Education Spending Will Decline? Think Again
    America’s schools have always been well funded, despite the claims of school funding advocates who persistently assert that the nation shortchanges its students. That’s the most basic point of “The Phony Funding Crisis,”an article by myself and Arthur Peng that Education Next published on its website today.
  • The Decline of Ed Schools: Ten Questions and Answers
    America does not now need education schools. They add little and cost a great deal. They are unable to attract talented entrants and fail to add value to their graduates (either by boosting teacher performance or teacher’s lifetime incomes).
  • SAT Scores: A Distraction from the Urgent Need for Massive Reform
    The College Board has recently released its 2009 SAT results. These results increasingly are a distraction, a national narcotic that dulls the collective senses into believing that there are reform programs deserving of being evaluated.
  • Courtroom Alchemy
    Adequacy advocates turn guesstimates into gold

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