Faculty & Staff

Benjamin Superfine, JD, PhD

Professor

Benjamin M. Superfine is a Professor in the College of Education, where his research interests center on education law and policy.

Superfine received his J.D. and Ph.D. in Education Foundations and Policy from the University of Michigan.  Before joining UIC, Superfine practiced law at Dow Lohnes PLLC in Washington, D.C.  Superfine's research focuses on the history of education law and policy, school finance reform, standards-based reform and accountability, teacher evaluation, and collective bargaining. His research is interdisciplinary and addresses educational issues through the lenses of law, history, and social science. He is the founder and Director of the Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative at UIC.

Education

2005 - PhD, University of Michigan, Foundations and Policy

2003 - JD, University of Michigan

1998 - BA, University of Pennsylvania

Research & Teaching Interests

Superfine is a Professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Superfine received his J.D. and Ph.D. in Education Foundations and Policy from the University of Michigan. Before joining UIC, Superfine practiced law at Dow Lohnes PLLC. His research focuses on the history of education law and policy, school finance reform, standards-based reform and accountability, teacher evaluation, and collective bargaining. His research is interdisciplinary and addresses educational issues through the lenses of law, history, and social science. Superfine teaches classes on the history, development, implementation, and analysis of education policy, in addition to the foundations of education research.

Superfine's work has been published in various educational and legal journals, including the American Educational Research Journal, American Journal of Education, Cardozo Law Review, Educational Policy, and Teachers College Record. Superfine's first book, The Courts and Standards-based Reform, was published by Oxford University Press. His second book, Equality in Education Law and Policy: 1954-2010, was published by Cambridge University Press.

Superfine is also the founder and Director of the Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative (RUEPI).  RUEPI is a project at the UIC College of Education that is aimed at fostering more informed dialogue and decision-making about education policy in Chicago and other urban areas.  The initiative is primarily aimed at enhancing the knowledge base of non-academic education policy stakeholders about some of the most important issues in education policy.  RUEPI produces peer-reviewed policy briefs and holds conferences on several major policy areas, including early childhood education, inclusion, STEM education, and teacher workforce policy. A fuller description of RUEPI can be found at http://ruepi.uic.edu.

Selected Publications

BOOKS

Superfine, B. M. (2013). Equality in education law and policy: 1954-2010. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Superfine, B. M. (2008). The courts and standards-based education reform. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

JOURNAL ARTICLES

Superfine, B. M. & Woo, D. S. (in press). Teacher unions, charter schools, and the public/private distinction in education law and policy. Teachers College Record.

Superfine, B. M., Umpstead, R., Mayrowetz, D., Lenhoff, S., & Pogodzinski, B. (in press). Legal, scientific, and political arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, Educational Policy (2018 Yearbook of Politics of Education Association, K. Ingle & B. Pogodzinski, eds.).

Lenhoff, S. A., Pogodzinski, B., Mayrowetz, D., Superfine, B. M., & Umpstead, R. (in press). District stressors and teacher evaluation ratings. Journal of Educational Administration.

Superfine, B. M. & Thompson, A. (2016). Interest groups, the courts, and educational equality: A policy regimes approach to Vergara v. California. American Educational Research Journal, 53(3), 573-604.

Superfine, B. M. & De Voto, C. (2016). The Elementary and Secondary Education Act and teacher workforce management systems, The Education Law and Policy Review, 3, 241-272.

Superfine, B. M. & Gottlieb, J. J. (2014). Teacher evaluation and collective bargaining: The new frontier of civil rights law, Michigan State Law Review, 2014, 737-787.

Superfine, B. M. (2014). The promises and pitfalls of teacher evaluation and accountability reform, Richmond Journal of Law and the Public Interest. 17(2), 591-622.

Superfine, B. M., Gottlieb, J. J. & Smylie, M. A. (2012). The expanding federal role in teacher workforce policy, Educational Policy, 20(1), 58-78.

Superfine, B. M. (2011). Stimulating school reform: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the shifting federal role in education, Missouri Law Review, 76(1), 81-134.

Superfine, B. M. (2010). Court-driven reform and equal educational opportunity: Centralization, decentralization, and the shifting judicial role, Review of Educational Research, 80(1), 108-137.

Superfine, B. M. (2010). New directions in school funding and governance: Moving from politics to evidence, Kentucky Law Journal, 98(4), 653-701.

Superfine, B. M. (2009). The evolving role of the courts in educational policy: The tension between judicial, scientific, and democratic decision-making in Kitzmiller v. Dover, American Educational Research Journal, 46(4), 898-923.

Superfine, B. M. & Goddard, R. D. (2009). The expanding role of the courts in educational policy: The preschool remedy and an adequate education, Teachers College Record, 111(7), 1796-1833.

Superfine, B. M. (2009). Deciding who decides questions at the intersection of school finance reform litigation and standards-based accountability policies, Educational Policy. 23(3), 480-514.

Superfine, B. M. (2006). Using the courts to influence the implementation of No Child Left Behind, Cardozo Law Review, 28(2), 779-846. Reprinted in part in B. James & M. Penrose (eds.), Education policy and the law. Lake Mary, FL: Vandeplas Publishing, 2009 (pp. 794-798).

Superfine, B. M. (2005). The politics of accountability: The rise and fall of Goals 2000, American Journal of Education, 112(1), 10-43.

Superfine, B. M. (2004). At the intersection of law and psychometrics: Explaining the validity clause of No Child Left Behind, Journal of Law and Education, 33, 475-513.

BOOK CHAPTERS

Superfine, B. M. (2016). Judging teacher evaluation: The legal implications of high-stakes teacher evaluation policy. In K. K. Hewett & A. Amrein-Beardsley (eds.), Student Growth Measures in Policy and Practice: Intended and Unintended Consequences of High-Stakes Teacher Evaluation (223-243). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Superfine, B. M. & Gottlieb, J. J. (2014). Teacher evaluation and collective bargaining: The new frontier of civil rights law. In K. Bowman (ed.), The Pursuit of Racial and Ethnic Equality in American Public Schools: Mendez, Brown, and Beyond (381-404). Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press. Also appears as Superfine, B. M. & Gottlieb, J. J. (2014). Teacher evaluation and collective bargaining: The new frontier of civil rights law, Michigan State Law Review, 2014, 737-787.

REPORTS

Superfine, B. M. & Castro Superfine, A. (2013). Improving mathematics teacher preparation policy in Illinois. Chicago, IL: Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Superfine, B. M. et al. (2012). The challenge of coherence in education policy in Illinois. In The Illinois Report 2012. Urbana-Champaign, IL: Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois.

Superfine, B. M. et al. (2009). Promising strategies for improving K-12 education in Illinois: Improving the educator workforce. In The Illinois Report 2009. Urbana-Champaign, IL: Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois.

EDITED REPORTS

Phillips, N. & Manderino, M. (2015). Access, equity, and empowerment: Supporting digital literacies for all learners. B. Superfine (ed.), Chicago, IL: Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative.

Teale, W. H., Walski, M., Hoffman, E., Meehan, M., Wittingham, C. & Colaner, A. (2015). Early childhood literacy: Policy for the coming decade. B. Superfine (ed.), Chicago, IL: Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative.

Woodard, R. & Kline, S. (2015). Moving beyond compliance: Promoting research-based professional discretion in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in English language arts. B. Superfine (ed.), Chicago, IL: Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative. Also appears as Woodard, R. & Kline, S. (2015). Moving beyond compliance: Promoting research-based professional discretion in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in English language arts. Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 27(13), Retrieved from http://www.mwera.org/MWER/volumes/v27/issue3/v27n3-Woodard-POLICY-BRIEF.pdf.

Nelson, C. C., Waechter-Versaw, A., Mitchener, C. P. & Chou, V. Teacher performance assessment in the age of accountability: The case of the edTPA. B. Superfine (ed.), Chicago, IL: Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative.

Smylie, M. (2014). Teacher evaluation and the problem of professional development. B. Superfine (ed.), Chicago, IL: Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative.

Cosner, C., Kimball, S. M., Barkowski, E., Carl, B. & Jones, C. (2014). Principal roles, work demands, and supports needed to implement new teacher evaluation. B. Superfine (ed.), Chicago, IL: Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative.

Larnell, G. V. (2013). Toward reforming non-credit-bearing remedial mathematics courses in four-year universities. B. Superfine (ed.), Chicago, IL: Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative.

Stoelinga, T. & Lynn, J. (2013). Algebra and the underprepared learner. B. Superfine (ed.), Chicago, IL: Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative.

Cushing, L. & Parker-Katz, M. (2012). Transition for urban youth with disabilities leaving secondary education. B. Superfine (ed.), Chicago, IL: Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative.

Goncu, A., Main, C., Perone, A. & Tozer, S. (2012). Crossing the boundaries: The need to integrate school leadership and early childhood education. B. Superfine (ed.), Chicago, IL: Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative. (also appears as Goncu, A., Main, C., Perone, A. & Tozer, S. (2012). Crossing the boundaries: The need to integrate school leadership and early childhood education, Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 26(1), Retrieved from http://www.mwera.org/MWER/volumes/v26/issue1/v26n1-Goncu-Main-Perone-Toz....

Nelson, C. C., Kushto, J. & Main, C. (2012). Beyond the ABCs and 1-2-3: The intersection of K-12 and early childhood education teacher preparation policies. B. Superfine (ed.), Chicago, IL: Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative.

Honors & Awards

2017 - Honoring Our Professor's Excellence Award, University of Illinois at Chicago

2014 - Critics Choice Book Award. Awarded annually by the American Educational Studies Association for an outstanding contribution to scholarship in the Social Foundations of Education for Superfine, B. M. (2013). Equality in education law and policy: 1954-2010. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

2013 - Researcher of the Year Rising Star Award in Social Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago

2010 - Teaching Recognition Program Award for outstanding performance in teaching activities, University of Illinois at Chicago, Council for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

2009 - Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Education Law. Awarded by the Education Law Association for an outstanding work of scholarly excellence that impacts education law for Superfine, B. M. (2008) The courts and standards-based education reform. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

2008 - States' Involvement in Federal Education Policy Fellow

Professional Affiliations & Activities

  • Chair, Department of Educational Policy Studies
  • Director, Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative
  • New York State Bar Association