David Gamson


David Gamson is an associate professor of education in the Department of Education Policy Studies at The Pennsylvania State University.  His research focuses on educational policy and school reform, past and present.

His has written about the role of school districts in Progressive Era reform, and, more recently, he has been studying the evolving roles and responsibilities of the school district since World War II.  In another avenue of research, he has investigated the changing cognitive demands placed upon students by textbooks published over the past century.  His study of the evolution of the U.S. reading curriculum received a major grant from the Spencer Foundation (on the relation of this study to the Common Core, see Gamson, Lu, and Eckert, “Challenging the Research Base of the Common Core State Standards: A Historical Reanalysis of Text Complexity,” Educational Researcher, October 2013).

Dr. Gamson has been a fellow in the Advanced Studies Fellowship Program at Brown University and a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow.  His publications have appeared in: Educational Researcher; Paedagogica Historica; the Journal of Educational Administration; Mind, Brain, and Education; Intelligence, and the 2007 Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education. His book, The Importance of Being Urban: Designing the Progressive School District, 1890-1940, is under contract with the University of Chicago Press.

He has a Ph.D. in Education and a MA in American History from Stanford University.  From 1991 to 1993 he was a social studies and history teacher for grades 6-12 at the International School of Minnesota.