Jal Mehta is an associate professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His research explores the role of different forms of knowledge in tackling major social and political problems, particularly problems of human improvement. He has also written extensively on what it would take to improve American education, with a particular focus on the professionalization of teaching.
At Radcliffe, Mehta is working on a book, “The Chastened Dream,” which is a history of how publicly oriented professional schools—education, public health, public policy, and urban planning and design—have sought to couple social science with social policy to achieve social progress. The book investigates the origins of that dream in the Progressive Era, the challenges it faced across the 20th century, and how it might be remade to anchor a renewed vision of liberalism in the 21st century.
Mehta is the author of The Allure of Order: High Hopes, Dashed Expectations, and the Troubled Quest to Remake American Schooling (Oxford University Press, 2013) and a coeditor of The Futures of School Reform (Harvard Education Press, 2012). He is just completing a book, “In Search of Deeper Learning,” a contemporary study of schools, systems, and nations that are seeking to produce ambitious instruction. He is coeditor of the Learning Deeply blog at Education Week and was included in Education Week’s 2014 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings. He was also the 2014 winner of the Morningstar Family Teaching Award at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.