Nora Gordon

Nora Gordon

Professor, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University
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About Nora

Gordon's research focuses on American education policy, with an emphasis on equity and the federal role in elementary and secondary education. She has studied the distributional impacts of Title I, fiscal rules governing federal education grants, state school finance reforms, school desegregation, and school district consolidation. Gordon has testified before Senate and House committees on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. She has served on the Institute of Education Sciences Expert Panel on the Study of the Title I Formula and DC's state Title I Committee of Practitioners, and currently serves on the Professional Advisory Board of the National Center for Learning Disabilities.


In the News

Opinion: "If You Love Evidence, Set It Free," Nora Gordon (with Carrie Conaway), Education Next, February 21, 2024.
Opinion: "What Works vs. What We Can Evaluate," Nora Gordon, Brookings Institution, June 14, 2018.
Opinion: "How the Tax Bill Hurts the Poorest Schools," Nora Gordon, The New York Times, December 12, 2017.


"Fiscal Compliance Rules for Federal Funding of Elementary and Secondary Education: Transparency, Reason-Giving, and Agency Accountability" (with Eloise Pasachoff), in Oxford Handbook of US K-12 Education Law, edited by Kristi Bowman (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Describes the institutional System of federal grants administration, and how it administers and enforces fiscal rules. Offers policy recommendations for improving efficacy.

"The Quest for a Targeted and Effective Title I ESEA: Challenges in Designing and Implementing Fiscal Compliance Rules" (with Sarah Reber). RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 1, no. 3 (2015): 129-147.

Describes how district decisions around spending Title I are influences by perceptions of federal compliance requirements, and how those perceptions accord with the law itself. 

"The Changing Federal Role in Education Finance and Governance" in Handbook of Research in Education Finance and Policy, Second Edition, edited by Helen F. Ladd and Margaret E. Goertz (Routledge, 2015).

Presents an overview of the historical and current federal role in elementary and secondary education policy.

"Local Responses to Federal Grants: Evidence from the Introduction of Title I in the SOuth" (with Elizabeth Cascio and Sarah Reber). American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 5, no. 3 (2013): 126-159.

Analyzes the impact of introduction of Title I on spending and high school graduation rates in Southern school districts. 

"Paying for Progress: Conditional Grants and the Desegregation of Southern Public Schools" (with Elizabeth Cascio, Ethan Lewis, and Sarah Reber). Quarterly Journal of Economics 125, no. 1 (2010): 445-482.

Analyzes how magnitude of Title I grants impacted the timing of voluntary school desegregation in the South.

"The Effect of State Education Finance Reform on Total Local Resources" (with Katherine Baicker). Journal of Public Economics 90, no. 8 (2006): 1519-1534.

Examines impact of state school finance reforms on levels and distribution of non-education state aid to local governments.