The main emphasis of my educational research is how differences in content exposure (primarily in science & math) interact with background inequalities (e.g. SES & race). There have been two main threads to this research agenda: first, I have examined differences in educational performance and opportunity to learn at various points in the achievement distribution (e.g. the "excellence gap") and for various subgroups using both U.S. and international comparative data. Second, I have studied the role that teacher quality plays in these differences, with a specific emphasis on teacher content knowledge, both as pre-service preparation and in-service professional development. I have recently begun work on an IEA-funded project to analyze the relationship of teacher quality to student outcomes over time using all waves of TIMSS data.
Supplementing my empirical work in education is a more normatively oriented vein of research focused on the role of auxiliary institutions (most particularly schools) and socioeconomic conditions in promoting the health of democratic institutions. I have published work on egalitarian justice as it relates to education and the social and institutional requirements for democratic stability (of which educational institutions play a critical part). In past work I have also explored the intersection of wealth and political power in American elections.