Skip to main content
David Hursh headshot

David Hursh


Teaching & Curriculum

PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison (curriculum theory and research)
MS, Kansas State University (family and child development)
BS, Kansas State University (social science)


David Hursh's recent research and writing reflect three specific areas of interest. First, Hursh situates the current corporate-based education reform effort within the context of the rise and dominance of neoliberal economic policies and high-stakes testing. Over the last 25 years, he has been writing about the politics of testing, focusing on New York State. His most recent book, Opting Out: The Story of the Parents’ Grassroots Movement to Achieve Whole-Child Public Schools, is co-authored with two parents active in the opt-out movement in New York and two Warner School students. He has also co-authored several book chapters and journal articles with the students and co-edited a special issue (due out in fall 2020) of the journal Teachers College Record examining the opt-out movement nationally. He also recently edited a special issue of Policy Futures in Education on “the end of neoliberalism.”

Second, he has worked to design and implement curriculum that promotes a sustainable society. This ranges from reconceptualizing educational goals to include practices that contribute to understanding the physical and social world as a holistic system. This includes not only teaching about energy and water use, but also creating an environment that supports the health of humans and other living things. He has created lessons and taught in classrooms in sub Saharan Africa as well as urban and suburban schools in the United States. He also worked with the Earth Institute at Columbia University from 2011-12 on the Millennium Development Project on attaining the Millennium Development Goals.

Third, in his current project, Hursh is working with fourth- through twelfth-grade teachers on teaching about structural racism in society. Specifically, they are looking at how the communities and schools in the Rochester metropolitan area became segregated and unequal. Teachers and students are learning about how residential redlining, restrictive covenants, and zoning regulations created segregated and unequal communities.

Hursh is responsible for teaching two courses:  ED 404 Teaching, Curriculum and Change; and EDU 428 Theory and Practice in Teaching and Learning Social Studies in Elementary School. In the latter course, students take an antiracist approach to teaching history and civics. He occasionally teaches an advanced doctoral seminar, most recently on globalization and education. In his Teaching, Curriculum and Change course, Hursh encourages students to conduct research on past and current issues in education, including the role of venture philanthropists such as Bill Gates, standardized testing, teachers unions, and inequality. His course on elementary social studies supports teachers and teacher candidates in developing curriculum and pedagogy in social studies education. Hursh supports students in raising and answering questions that are personally and politically significant.

He has given presentations on the above topics in the United States and around the globe. He has given addresses at the United Nations, in New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Canada, the United Kingdom, and at numerous international conferences in Europe and North America. For several years he was the associate editor for the Americas for the Journal of Education Policy and has been and still is the associate editor for the journal Policy Futures in Education. In addition to his appointment as a visiting scholar at Columbia University, Hursh has been on the faculty at  Swarthmore College, a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a visiting scholar at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand and the University of Redlands, Redlands, California, and a research fellow at Bristol University, Bristol, England.