Gary W. Ritter is a Professor of Education and Public Policy and holder of the Endowed Chair in Education Policy in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. He is also the Director and Founder (in 2003) of the Office for Education Policy at the University of Arkansas. The goal of the Office is to be a resource that aids state legislators, school board members, and other policymakers in thoughtful decision-making concerning K-12 education in the State of Arkansas. Gary has been a faculty member at the University of Arkansas since 2000.
Currently, his primary area of interest is the development of alternative strategies for teacher compensation in public schools. His research interests also include program evaluation, school finance, standards-based and accountability-based school reform, and racial segregation in schools. Gary currently teaches courses in Education Policy, Assessment of Educational Outcomes, Program Evaluation, and Research Methods to graduate students. His work has been published in various outlets, including Phi Delta Kappan, Review of Educational Research, Education Finance and Policy, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, the Journal of Education Finance, the American Review of Public Administration, the International Journal of Testing, the Georgetown Public Policy Review, Black Issues in Higher Education, Education Next, and Education Week.
Gary graduated from John Carroll University with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance in 1990. After working as a Jesuit Volunteer for Sacred Heart School in Camden, NJ, he attended the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, where he earned an MA in Social Policy. Upon his return to the United States, Gary earned an MA in Public Policy from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1996 and Ph.D. in Education Policy in 2000 from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with his wife and five children.
Degrees University of Pennsylvania
- PhD, Education Policy and Leadership, 2000
- M.A., Wharton School, Public Policy and Management, 1996
University of Manchester
- M.A., Social Policy, 1993
John Carroll University
- B.A., Finance, 1990
Ritter began his professional career working for two years as the research coordinator of a study examining the West Philadelphia Tutoring Project at the University of Pennsylvania. He then joined the University of Arkansas faculty in Educational Leadership and Foundations as an assistant professor. After only two years, he became the Director of the University-Wide Public Policy Program. The following year, he became Inaugural faculty in the Clinton School of Public service and the Director of the Office for Education Policy. In 2004, he was promoted to associate professor in the Education Leadership and Foundations College and granted tenure.Teaching Areas
- Education Policy
- Program Evaluation
- Public Policy
- Research Methods in Education
- Program Evaluation
- School Finance
- At-risk youth
- Barnett, J.H., Jensen, N.C., and Ritter, G.W. 2010. Dollars for Sense: Assessing Achievement Gaps in Arkansas in the Context of Substantial Funding Increases. Association of Mexican-American Educators (AMAE) Journal. 4(1), 39-47.
- Ritter, G. W. and Jensen, N.C. 2010. The Delicate Task of Developing an Attractive Merit Pay Plan for Teachers. Phi Delta Kappan, 91, 8.
- Ritter, G. W., Jensen, N.C., Kisida, B., and McGee, J. 2010. A Closer Look at Charter Schools and Segregation: Flawed comparisons lead to overstated conclusions. Education Next, 10, 3, 69-73.
- Buck, S., Ritter, G. W., Jensen, N.C., and Rose, C. P. 2010. Teachers Say the Most Interesting Things – An Alternative View of Testing. Phi Delta Kappan, 91, 6, 50-54.
- Ritter, G. W., Maranto, R. A., and Buck, S. 2009. Harnessing Private Incentives in Public Education. Review of Public Personnel Administration, 29,3, 249-269.
- Ritter, G.W., Barnett, J.H., Denny, G.S., & Albin, G.R. 2009. The Effectiveness of Volunteer Tutoring Programs for Elementary and Middle School Students: A Meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research. 79, 1, 3-38.
- Ritter, Gary W. 2009. Education Reform in Arkansas: Hitting a Moving Target, in J. Parry and R. Wang (Ed.) Arkansas Politics. (pp. 562-586). University of Arkansas Press.
- Winters, M.A., Ritter, G.W., Greene, J.P., and Marsh, R. 2009. Student Outcomes and Teacher Productivity and Perceptions in Arkansas. In Matthew G. Springer (Ed.), Performance Incentives: Their Growing Impact on American K-12 Education. (pp. 273-293). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
- Ritter, Gary W. & Holley, Marc J. 2008. Lessons for Conducting Random Assignment in Schools. Journal of Children’s Services. 3, 2, 28-39.
- Miller, Will H., Kerr, John B., & Ritter, Gary W. 2008. School Performance Measurement: Politics and Equity. The American Review of Public Administration, 38, 1, 100-117.
- Ritter, Gary W. & Lucas, Christopher J. 2006. Devil in the Details: Making Sensible Modifications to “No Child Left Behind”. Education Finance & Policy. 1,2, 266-277.
- Mulvenon, Sean W., Stegman, Charles E., & Ritter, Gary W. 2005. Text Anxiety: A Multifaceted Study on the Perceptions of Teachers, Principals, Counselors, Students, and Parents. International Journal of Testing, 5, 1, 37-61.
- Ritter, Gary W. & Lucas, Christopher, J. 2003. Puzzled States. Education Next, 3, 4, 55-61.
- Ritter, Gary W. & Lauver, Sherri C. 2003. School Finance Reform in New Jersey: A Piecemeal Response to A Systemic Problem. Journal of Education Finance. 28, 4, 575-598.
- Ritter, Gary W., Mulvenon, Sean W., Scott, Kristina A., & Lucas, Christopher J. 2002. Overcoming the Obstacles: Implementing State Accountability Systems for Schools. Arkansas Educational Research & Policy Studies Journal. 2, 1, 26-47
- Ritter, Gary W., Rush, Alison, & Rush, Joel. 2002. How Might School Choice Affect Racial Integration in Schools? New Evidence from the ECLS-K. Georgetown Public Policy Review. 7, 2, 125-136.
- Lauver, Sherri C., Ritter, Gary W., Maynard, Rebecca A., & Alberino, Cristi. 2001. Extended Learning Opportunities for Philadelphia Students: Local Actions, National Implications? The Fels Center of Government Journal of City and State Public Affairs, 2, 1, 18-31.
- Ritter, Gary W. & Boruch, Robert F. 1999. The Political and Institutional Origins of a Randomized Controlled Trial on Elementary School Class-size: Tennessee’s Project STAR. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 21, 2, 111-125.
Recent Peer Reviewed Presentations
- Ritter, G.W., Jensen, N.C., Kisida, B., & McGee, J.B. (November 2010). A Closer Look at Charter Schools and Segregation Using School Proximity. Paper presented at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. Boston, MA.
- Jensen, N.C., Ritter, G.W., & Shuls, J. (July 2010). NWEA Assessments & Performance Pay: A Case Study of the eStem Public Charters Schools. Paper presented at the NWEA Summer Conference. Portland, OR.
- Chaplin, D. & Ritter, G.W. (March 2010). Teacher Performance Rewards: The Devils are in the Details. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Finance Association. Richmond, VA.
- Ritter, G.W. (November 2009). The Impact of Charter Schools on Racial Integration in Urban Public Schools Classrooms. Paper presented at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. Washington, DC.
- Gray, N.L., Barnett, J.H., & Ritter, G.W. (April 2009). States Found Guilty of Inequity, Districts Yet to be Tried: An Analysis of Intra-District Spending Inequities. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. San Diego, CA.
- Winters, M.A., Ritter, G.W., Marsh, R.H., Greene, J.P., & Holley, M.J. (May 16-17, 2008). The Impact of Performance Pay for Public School Teachers: Theory and Evidence. Paper presented at CESifoPEPG Conference on Economic Incentives: Do They Work in Education? Insights and Findings from Behavioral Research CESifo Conference Center, Munich, Germany.
- Jensen, N.C., Riffel, B.E., Holley, M.J., Ritter, G.W., & Barnett, J.H. (April 2008). Understanding the Effects of Performance Pay on Teacher Behavior: Lessons from the Achievement Challenge Pilot Project. Paper presented at the American Education Finance Association. Denver, CO.
- Holley, M.J., Ritter, G.W., & Riffel, B.R. (November 2007). The Role of Interest Groups in Shaping Merit Pay Policy in Arkansas. Paper presented at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. Washington, DC.
- Ritter, G.W., Holley, M.J., & Barnett, J.H. (November 2007). How Does Merit Pay Change Schools? An Evaluation of the Impacts of the Little Rock Achievement Challenge Pilot Project. Paper presented at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. Washington, DC.
Testimony to Government and Officials and Invited Presentations
- Ritter, G.W. (June 30, 2010). “Recent Research on Racial Integration in Charter Schools in the United States.” Presented at the National Charter Schools Conference, Chicago, IL.
- Ritter, G.W. (June 11, 2010), “Effectiveness Research in Education in the US: Strategies in Primary and Secondary Education.” Presentation to Norwegian Education Ministry in collaboration with the Campbell Collaboration, Oslo, Norway.
- Ritter, G.W. (September 30, 2009). “Doing Randomized Controlled Trials without the Control: Conducting Random Assignment Studies in a Social Context.” Presented at the Centre for Effective Education in the School of Education at Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
- Ritter, G.W. (January 23, 2009). “Discussion of Issues Pertaining to Teacher Performance Pay,” Presented to Arkansas General Assembly Joint Education Committee, Little Rock, AR.
- Ritter, G.W. (October 14, 2008). “2008 Report Card on Arkansas Schools”. Presented to Arkansas General Assembly Joint Education Committee, Little Rock, AR.
- Ritter, G.W. (October 26, 2007). “Making Evidence Matter: How Private Funding Fuels Research,” Presented to Arkansas General Assembly Joint Education Committee, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
- Ritter, G.W. (September 11, 2007). “Implementing Merit Pay, Overcoming the Obstacles: Lessons from the Field.” Presented to Florida Department of Education, Tallahassee, FL.
- Ritter, G.W. (August 21, 2007). “Implementing Merit Pay, Overcoming the Obstacles: Lessons from the Field.” Presented to Oklahoma State Legislature, Oklahoma City, OK.
- Ritter, G.W. (May 11, 2007). “ESEA Reauthorization: Boosting Quality in the Teaching Profession,” Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC. Presentation Covered on CSPAN.
- Ritter, G.W. (January 23, 2007). “Implementing Performance Pay, Overcoming the Obstacles: Lessons from the Achievement Challenge Pilot Project,” 21st Century Competitiveness Committee, Florida State Legislature, Tallahassee, Florida.
- Ritter, G.W. & Barnett, J.H. (January 16, 2007). State of Arkansas School Funding Analysis: Comparing 2003-04 and 2004-05 Revenue and Expenditure in Arkansas Schools. Presented to Full Senate. Little Rock, AR.
- Ritter, G.W. (March 21, 2006). “Analysis of Expenditure Changes post-Act 59 – Initial Findings,” Presented to the Arkansas Senate. State Capitol, Little Rock, AR.
- Picus, L.O., Odden, A.R., Ritter, G.W., & Barnett, J.H. (March 2006). Expenditure Analysis for Arkansas Adequacy Study – Initial Findings. Presentation to the Arkansas Senate and House Adequacy Study Oversight Committee. Little Rock, AR.
- Picus, L.O., Odden, A.R., & Ritter, G.W. (January 2006). Framework for Expenditure Analysis for Arkansas Adequacy Study. Presentation to the Arkansas Senate and House Adequacy Study Oversight Committee. Little Rock, AR.