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Chris Curran - University of Florida. Gainesville, FL, US

Chris Curran

Associate Professor | University of Florida

Gainesville, FL, UNITED STATES

Chris Curran’s applies causal inference, mixed methodologies, and data science approaches to the study of public policy and education.


F. Chris Curran is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy, Section Head and Coordinator of the Educational Leadership and Policy Program Area, and Director of the Education Policy Research Center at the University of Florida’s College of Education. Prior to joining the University of Florida, he was an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) School of Public Policy. He received his Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy Studies with a doctoral minor in quantitative methods from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College in 2015 and holds a masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Mississippi. He also holds a Specialization Certificate in Data Science. Dr. Curran’s research applies quantitative causal inference techniques, mixed methodologies, and data science approaches to the study of education policy, with a goal of improving outcomes for all students. In particular, his recent work has focused on the ways that school discipline and safety contribute to educational outcomes and how such policies can differentially impact subgroups of students. He also has an active body of research that examines early childhood education, particularly in science. His work has been supported by over $3 million in external grants from the National Institute of Justice, National Science Foundation, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, the American Educational Research Association, the National Academy of Education and Spencer Foundation, among others. His work has been published in outlets including Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Researcher, AERA Open, the American Educational Research Journal, and Education Finance and Policy. His work has also been featured in a number of media outlets including NPR, Politico, Education Week, and The Atlantic. He is an active public scholar and regular contributor to The Conversation. Prior to graduate school, Dr. Curran was a middle school science teacher and department chair.

Areas of Expertise (8)

Public Policy

School Discipline

Early Childhood Education

School Resource Officers

Children and Poverty

Juvenile Justice

School Safety

Teacher Labor Markets

Media Appearances (3)

Austin ISD is making progress on school safety projects included in 2022 bond

KUT News  online


Joslin Elementary is one of about 70 Austin ISD campuses getting new perimeter fences as part of the $2.4 billion school bond package voters approved in November. The bond includes roughly $147 million to improve school safety and $5 million of that is for fence upgrades. Michael Mann, AISD’s director of construction management, said security was a top concern when deciding what to include in the 2022 bond.

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What is PragerU? The conservative education platform now in Florida schools

The Hill  online


The Florida Department of Education is raising alarm with its recent approval of the conservative education platform PragerU, which touts itself as an alternative to progressive “indoctrination,” for use in classrooms this school year. What is PragerU? The conservative education platform now in Florida schools.

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Schools Skip Simple Ways to Build Trust in School Police, Research Finds

Education Week  online


Even as more schools hire law enforcement, many skip simple steps to share information about the deputies and school resource officers stationed in their hallways—like making available basic information about the officers and their roles available on their websites, recent research finds. The oversight misses an opportunity to inform the public about the officers and, potentially, help build trust and inform debates about equity and school safety, said Chris Curran, an associate professor of educational research...

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Articles (5)

On guard but not sworn: The relationship between school security guards, school resource officers, and student behavior, discipline, and arrests

Criminology & Public Policy

Keenen Vernon, et. al


The increasing presence of armed security personnel in schools has led to concerns about the criminalization of students. While many schools use sworn law enforcement (e.g. school resource officers or SROs), many schools also use security guards who are not sworn law enforcement. Recent policy changes in a number of states and political pressures resulting from acts of mass school violence have led policymakers to face decisions between the use of SROs and security guards.

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Community Policing in Schools and School Resource Officer Transparency

Educational Policy

Chris Curran, et. al


Following increased attention to racial disparities in police use of force, national conversations have focused on the role of law enforcement, including in public schools. This study examines transparency with regard to the presence of law enforcement in schools. Leveraging novel school-level and district-level data from the state of Florida, this research shows that the majority of schools and about a third of school districts do not make information on law enforcement presence in schools publicly available.

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Assessing the Public Availability of School Discipline and Infraction Data

Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis

Chris Curran, et. al


Research using school discipline and infraction data has contributed to public policy conversations by helping elucidate the effects of and disproportionate experience of school disciplinary outcomes. This research brief presents results from an analysis of the public availability of such data from state departments of education. Findings suggest that while public availability of discipline data has not changed significantly over the past decade, states are more likely to disaggregate such data by subgroups.

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Ban the Discipline Box? How University Applications that Assess Prior School Discipline Experiences Relate to Admissions of Students Suspended in High School

Research in Higher Education

Chris Curran


For the past decade and a half, many institutions of higher education have asked about high school disciplinary experiences, including suspensions, on their applications. Advocates have argued that this “discipline box” has a negative effect on suspended students’ likelihood to apply and be accepted to institutions of higher education with such a box.

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Exclusionary School Discipline and Delinquent Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

Julie Gerlinger, et al.


Excluding students from school remains a common form of punishment despite growing critique of the practice. A disparate research base has impeded the ability to make broader assessments on the association between exclusionary discipline (i.e., suspensions and expulsions) and subsequent behavior.

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SROs and Student Interactions - UF Education Policy Research Center Video Policy Brief What are SROs and why are they in schools? - UF Education Policy Research Brief