John L. Rury

School of Education - Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
Professor of Education (ELPS) and (by courtesy) History and African & African American Studies
Primary office:
Joseph R. Pearson Hall, 423
University of Kansas
1524 Alvamar Dr
Lawrence 66047


John Rury is a historian of American education and also conducts research in education policy studies, especially regarding metropolitan schools. He is particularly concerned with inequality in education, past and present.

He was educated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Ph.D. 1982), the City University of New York (M.S. 1975) and Fordham University (A.B. 1973). Prior to coming to KU in 2003, he taught at DePaul University, Ohio State University, Antioch College and Wayne State University. He also spent a year as a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan.

Professor Rury's work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Institute of Education, the National Academy of Education, the Spencer Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Kansas Board of Regents, among other sources. In spring 2018 he was a Fulbright scholar in Hungary.

During the 1990s he served as an editor of the American Educational Research Journal (1992-96), and was elected president of the History of Education Society (USA) and a vice president of the American Educational Research Association. Between 1999 and 2003 he was a senior program officer and senior advisor at the Spencer Foundation. He presently serves on the executive committee of the Kansas City Area Educational Research Consortium (KCAERC), and as a co-director of the Urban Experience Seminar at KU's Hall Center for the Humanities .


Professor Rury teaches courses and seminars in the history and sociology of education, dealing with a variety of topics and educational domains (P-12 and Higher Education)

Teaching Interests

  • History of education
  • Sociology of education
  • Race and education
  • History of childhood
  • Social change
  • Urban education
  • School reform
  • Higher education
  • Technological change
  • Research methodology


He has a longstanding interest in the social history of American education, utilizing a variety of quantitative and inductive research approaches. More recently, he's had a growing interest in comparative analysis of education, with a global purview, working at the intersection of history and sociology.

Research Interests

  • History of education
  • American history
  • Race in history
  • Social change
  • Urban education
  • Educational inequality
  • Comparative analysis
  • Higher education
  • Technological change


Director, Social and Cultural Studies programs (masters & doctoral), Coordinator, Policy Studies Doctoral Concentration

Selected Publications

Rury, J. L., & Rife, A. T. (2018). Race, Schools and Opportunity Hoarding: Evidence from a Post-war American Metropolis [Journal Articles]. History of Education, 47(1), 87–107.
Darby, D., & Rury, J. (2018). The Color of Mind: Why the Origins of the Achievement Gap Matter for Justice [Books]. University of Chicago Press.
Rury, J. L., & Rice, S. (2017). Dewey on Civil Rights, Testing, Interest and Discipline: D&E in Perspective [Journal Articles]. The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 16(4), 488–499.
Rury, J. L., & Darby, D. (2016). War and Education in the United States: Racial Ideology and Inequality in Three Historical Episodes [Journal Articles].             , 52(1), 8–24.
Rury, J. (2015). Decades of Transformation: Fifty Years of KU History [Book Chapters]. In Transforming the University of Kansas: A History, 1965-2015.
Rury, J., & Warren, K. (2015). TRANSFORMING THE UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS : A HISTORY, 1965-2015 [Books]. University Press of Kansas.
Rury, J. (2015). Trouble in Suburbia: Localism, Schools and Conflict in Postwar Johnson County, Kansas [Journal Articles]. History of Education Quarterly. Published.
Rury, J., & Saatcioglu, A. (2015). DID THE COLEMAN REPORT UNDERESTIMATE THE EFFECT OF ECONOMIC STATUS ON EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES? [Journal Articles]. Teachers College Record, online.

» Show All Publications

Selected Grants

Teaching 'Race in American History'. CIES/IES. $13000.00. Submitted 9/1/2016 (1/1/2018 - 5/31/2018). Federal. Status: Funded

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