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Robert Costrell Joins George W. Bush Institute

October 20, 2011 3 minute Read by George W. Bush Presidential Center

Robert CostrellThe George W. Bush Institute is pleased to announce that University of Arkansas professor Robert Costrell has been named a fellow in education reform.  Professor Costrell, who received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and previously served as the state economist for Massachusetts, is among the nation’s foremost specialists in the economics of education, education finance, educator compensation systems, and pension system dynamics.  He is widely known for his significant contributions to school finance litigation throughout the United States.  His current research on disincentives and unfunded liabilities in educator pension systems is highly influential in reshaping state policies regarding retirement plans.  The Institute is honored at his acceptance of this position. Professor Costrell is the Professor of Education Reform and Economics and holds the Endowed Chair in Education Accountability at the University of Arkansas. His academic career has featured seminal publications on the economic theory of educational standards, income distribution and testing, and teacher pensions, as well as school finance litigation. These have appeared in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, and Education Finance and Policy, as well as general interest publications, such as Brookings Papers on Education Policy and Education Next. From 1999 to 2006, Professor Costrell served in major policy roles for three governors of Massachusetts, including policy research director and chief economist. He worked closely with the administration as accountability reforms, based on exit exams, went into effect. As education advisor to Governor Mitt Romney, he helped develop the governor’s comprehensive education reform proposal of 2005, and also led the reforms of the state’s district and charter funding formulas. In 2003, his extensive expert testimony in Massachusetts’ school finance case (Hancock v. Driscoll) proved critical to the successful defense of that state’s education reform program. He represented the administration on the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (2001-03) and the Massachusetts School Building Authority (2005-06). Professor Costrell has served on the U.S. Department of Education’s Advisory Council on Education Statistics, appointed by Secretary Paige (2001-02) and the National Technical Advisory Council for NCLB (2008-09), appointed by Secretary Spellings. He joined the faculty at the University of Arkansas in August 2006, and is the founding graduate director of the Ph.D. program in Education Policy. Professor Costrell taught economics at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, from 1978 to 2000. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1978 and his B.A. in economics from the University of Michigan in 1972.


George W. Bush Presidential Center



As the 13th presidential library, the Bush Library and Museum promotes an understanding of the American presidency, examines the specific time in history during which President Bush served, and provides access to official records and artifacts from the Bush Administration.



The Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization that cultivates leaders, fosters policies to solve today’s most pressing challenges, and takes action to save and change lives. Our work is inspired by the principles that guide President and Mrs. Bush in public life.

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