HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Professor of Public Policy, HKS; Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government, FAS


Larry Cuban, a former public-schools superintendent turned urban historian, confesses to hold much the same view. Students are not learning much at school, and achievement gaps are widening, but schools should not be blamed, as they cannot be changed. Not that it counts for much, except for persistent racial and socioeconomic inequalities. The emeritus Stanford professor acknowledges that he has “pulled back from his Progressive roots as a reform-driven educator.” Like the businessman, he has “tempered the unvarnished optimism I had initially about the power of schools.” Cuban differs from the chief executive only when assigning blame for contemporary conditions.


Peterson, Paul E. "A Pessimistic View of Public-School Reform." Review of Confessions of a School Reformer, by Larry Cuban. Education Next, 23.1, Winter 2023.