Aaron Pallas

Sociology and Education

Aaron Pallas is the Arthur I. Gates Professor of Sociology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He has also taught at Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Northwestern University, and served as a statistician at the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Department of Education.

Professor Pallas uses a variety of research tools to inform the public about the relevance and usability of educational research for policy and practice. He educates stakeholders—including representatives of the media—about the complexities and unexpected consequences of accountability and resource distribution policies in public schools. His research, taken up by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and a variety of media reaching local political leaders, policymakers, parents, and voters, illuminates these dynamics across New York City, New York State and beyond.

Pallas’s efforts to strengthen the capacity of research to enhance educational discourse in the public sphere draw on his studies of the linkages between education policy and inequalities in life chances and the role of schooling in the course of human lives. His research has also addressed the sociology of teaching and teachers’ work and careers, including teacher accountability systems, undergraduate teaching improvement, and the preparation of education researchers. His current research examines patterns of segregation among and within New York City middle schools.

A former editor of the American Sociological Association journal Sociology of Education, he is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and an elected member of the National Academy of Education and of the Sociological Research Association, the preeminent honorary society of sociology scholars. He has also served as Chair of the Sociology of Education and Sociology of Children and Youth sections of the American Sociological Association.