David K. Cohen

John Dewey Collegiate Professor, School of Education; Professor, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

David K. Cohen, School of Education

David Cohen's current research interests include educational policy, the relations between policy and instruction, and the improvement of teaching. His past work has included studies of the effects of schooling, various efforts to reform schools and teaching, the evaluation of educational experiments and large-scale intervention programs, and the relations between research and policy.

With Brian Rowan and Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Cohen codirected the Study of Instructional Improvement, a large longitudinal study of efforts to improve instruction and learning in reading/language arts and mathematics in high-poverty elementary schools. The research team studied three major whole-school reform programs in more than 100 schools, in 40 school districts, in 14 states and the District of Columbia. A nationally recognized authority on educational reform, Cohen taught at Harvard and Michigan State University before coming to the University of Michigan. He teaches two courses that are cross-listed between the Ford School and the School of Education (Education Policy and Fundamental Issues in Education Policy). He also teaches a doctoral seminar in the School of Education, “The Social Foundations of Schooling.”

Cohen received his PhD from the University of Rochester.

Cohen teaches courses in the following program(s):
Educational Foundations and Policy


Selected Publications


Cohen D. K, Fuhrman S. H., and Mosher F. (2007) The State of Education Policy Research. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Cohen, D. K., and Hill, H.C. (2001). Learning Policy: When State Education Reform Works. New Haven: Yale  University Press.

Powell, A.G. and Farrar, E. and Cohen, D.K. (1985). The Shopping Mall High School:  Winners and Losers in the Educational Marketplace. Boston:  Houghton Mifflin.

Cohen, D.K. and Moffitt, Susan L. (2009) The Ordeal Of Equality: Can Federal Regulation Fix The Schools? Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Cohen, D.K., (2011) Teaching And Its Predicaments. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


Cohen, D.K., and Ball, Deborah L., "Educational Innovation and the Problem of Scale." In Schneider and McDonald (eds), Scale-Up In Education, Vol. 1. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007.

Cohen, D.K., "Knowledge For Teaching." Oxford Review of Education, fall 2008.

Cohen, D.K. (1998). "Dewey’s problem." The Elementary School Journal, 98(5), 427-446.

Cohen, D., Raudenbush, S., & Ball, D. (2003). "Resources, instruction, and research."  Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 25 (2), 1-24.

Cohen, D.K., Moffitt, S.L., & Goldin, S. (2007). "Policy and practice: The dilemma." American Journal of Education, 113.

Ball, D. L. & Cohen, D. K. (1999). "Developing practice, developing practitioners: Toward a practice-based theory of professional education." In G. Sykes and L. Darling-Hammond (Eds.), Teaching as the learning profession: Handbook of policy and practice (pp. 3-32). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.


Research Affiliations


9/1/2015 - 8/31/2018 A Comparative Study of School Systems: Infrastructure, Practice, and Instructional Improvement
Granting Agency: Northwestern University/Spencer Foundation


Room 4220
Mailbox 1600
734.763.0226 dkcohen@umich.edu

Personal Website