Professional Biography

Rand Quinn's primary affiliation is with the educational leadership program of the Teaching, Learning, and Leadership division. He is a faculty affiliate with the Educational Policy division and the Education, Culture, and Society program. He is a senior researcher at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education and a faculty affiliate of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education. Quinn teaches courses on the politics, organization, and leadership of education. In 2015, he received the Excellence in Teaching award from Penn GSE. 

Prior to joining the Penn GSE faculty, Dr. Quinn was a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Education. He received his Ph.D. in education (policy analysis) from Stanford University, where he was a research fellow with the Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society and a teaching fellow with the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Quinn is a former community organizer, public policy advocate, and nonprofit leader who worked to advance education, welfare, housing, and immigrant rights. Over the years, he has consulted for and served on the boards of several nonprofit immigrant rights, cultural arts, and welfare rights organizations.

Research Interests and Current Projects


Ph.D., Education (Policy Analysis), Stanford University, 2011.

Areas of Expertise

Politics of education
Community organizing
Social movements
Organization theory
Philanthropy and civil society

Selected Publications

Cheuk, T., & Quinn, R. (2018). Dismantling the wall between Church and State: The case of public education. Phi Delta Kappan, 100(3), 24-28.

Cohen, J., Golden, M., Quinn, R., & Simon, E. (2018). Democracy thwarted or democracy at work? Local public engagement and the new education policy landscape. American Journal of Education, 124(4), 411-443.

Nguyen, C., & Quinn, R. (2018). "We share similar struggles": How a Vietnamese immigrant youth organizing program shapes participants' critical consciousness of interracial tension. Race Ethnicity and Education, 21(5), 626-642.

Quinn, R., & Cheuk, T. (2018). School vouchers in the Trump era: How political ideology and religion shape public opinion. Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE), Policy Brief #18-1.

Quinn, R., & Nguyen, C. (2017). Immigrant youth organizing as civic preparation. American Educational Research Journal, 54(5), 972-1005.

Quinn, R., Hopkins, M., & García Bedolla, L. (2017). The politics of immigration and education. Educational Policy, 31(6), 707-715.

Simon, E., Quinn, R., Golden, M., & Cohen, J. (2017). With our powers combined: Grassroots activism in Philadelphia. In B. Ferman (Ed.), The Fight for America's Schools: Grassroots Organizing in Education (pp. 55-73). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Steinberg, M., & Quinn, R. (2017). Education reform in the post-NCLB era: Lessons learned for transforming urban public education. Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, 19(1), 191-216.

Quinn, R., Oelberger, C., & Meyerson, D. (2016). Getting to scale: Ideas, opportunities, and resources in the early diffusion of the charter management organization, 1999-2006. Teachers College Record, 118(9), 1-44.

Steinberg, M., Quinn, R., Kreisman, D., & Anglum, J. (2016). Did Pennsylvania's statewide school finance reform increase education spending or provide tax relief? National Tax Journal, 69(3), 545-582.

Quinn, R., & Carl, N. (2015). Teacher activist organizations and the development of professional agency. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 21(6), 745-758.

Quinn, R., & Steinberg, M. (2015). Can state policy deliver equitable and adequate funding? The State Education Standard, 15(2), 37-41.

Steinberg, M., & Quinn, R. (2015). A tale of two decades: New evidence on adequacy and equity in Pennsylvania. Journal of Education Finance, 40(3), 273-298.

Quinn, R., Tompkins-Stange, M. & Meyerson, D. (2014). Beyond grantmaking: Philanthropic foundations as agents of change and institutional entrepreneurs. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 43(6), 950-968.

Scott, J., & Quinn, R. (2014). The politics of education in the post-Brown era: Race, markets, and the struggle for equitable schooling. Educational Administration Quarterly, 50(5), 749–763.

Quinn, R., Tompkins-Stange, M. & Meyerson, D. (2013). Philanthropic foundations as institutional entrepreneurs in the California charter school field. National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education (NCSPE), no. 221. Teachers College, New York.

Quinn, R., & Carl, N. (2013). Thoughts on the power and promise of parent organizing. Perspectives on Urban Education, 10(1), 1-3.

Meyerson, D., Berger, A., & Quinn R. (2010). Playing the field: Implications of scaling in the California charter school movement. In P. N. Bloom and E. Skloot (Eds.), Scaling Social Impact: New Thinking (pp. 65-79). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Quinn, R. & Meyerson, D. (2008). The positive potential of tempered radicals. In C. Manz, K. Cameron, K. Manz, & R. Marx (Eds.), The Virtuous Organization: Insights from Some of the World’s Leading Management Thinkers (pp. 247-258). Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific Publishing.