Faculty Profile EMPHASIS AREA: SOEP. Education Policy and Governance; International education policy and governance; School finance

Thomas Timar

Professor Emeritus

Portrait of Thomas Timar

To paraphrase Dostoevsky, the quality of a society should be measured by the quality of its schools, particularly the quality of its schools educating the most disadvantaged children.

Thomas Timar’s areas of expertise include education finance, policy, and governance. In addition to his faculty responsibilities, he is also director of the UC Davis Center for Applied Policy in Education (CAP-Ed) and a member of the steering committee for Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE).

Research Interests

Education finance; Education policy and governance; Educational leadership; International education policy and governance; Education policy and educational improvement


  • Ph.D., Educational Policy (Law and Finance) – UC, Berkeley
  • MA., Comparative Literature (German, Hungarian, Russian) UC Berkeley
  • BA. Comparative Literature (Russian, German, Hungarian)

Select Publications

  • Timar, T. (2006) “Evaluating State Intervention: The High Priority Schools Program,” in Haleh Hatami (Ed.) Crucial Issues in California 2006: Rekindling Reform. University of California, Berkeley. Policy Analysis for California Education.
  • Timar. T. (1995). The Allocation of Educational Resources and School Finance Equity in Ohio. In Picus, L. (Ed.) Where Does the Money Go? Resource Allocation in Elementary and Secondary Schools. Year Book of the American Education Finance Association. Corwin Press
  • Timar, T. (1994). “Program Design and Assessment Strategies in Chapter 1″ in Rethinking Policy for At-Risk Students, Kenneth Wong and Margaret Wang (Eds.) (Series in Contemporary Educational Issues of the National Society for the Study of Education. Berkeley, CA: McCutchan Publishing Co.
  • Timar, T. (1992). “Categorical Wars: School Finance Politics in California,” in Politics of Education Yearbook, 1992. Philip Zodhiates and Catherine Marshall, (Eds.) (Philadelphia: Falmer Press)
  • Timar, T. (1991).”Urban Politics and State School Finance in California,” in Politics of Education Yearbook, 1991. James Cibulka, Rodney Reed, Kenneth Wong, (Eds.) Philadelphia: Falmer Press.
  • Timar, T. (1991) “Alternative Teacher Compensation Schemes and School Reform,” in Teacher Compensation and Teacher Motivation, Larry Fraze, (Ed.) New York: Technomics,
  • Timar, T. (1989) “The Politics of School Restructuring,” in Politics of Education Yearbook, 1989; Douglas E. Mitchell and Margaret Goertz, eds. (Philadelphia: Falmer Press) 1990. Partly reprinted in Law and Educational Policy, M. Yudof and D. Kirp (Eds) St. Paul, Minn: West Law Publishing
  • Timar, T. & Kirp, D (1988). Managing Educational Excellence (Philadelphia: Taylor and Francis, Stanford Series in Education and Public Policy, 1988) (with David L. Kirp and Foreword by Theodore Sizer) Translated into Ukrainian as Yak Domogticya Doknonalosti v Osviti. Lyviv, Ukraine: Lytopis Publishing House. 2005
  • Guthrie, J. & Timar, T. (1984) “Public Values and Public School Policy” Educational Leadership (Fall 1984). Reprinted in Kaleidoscope: Readings in Education. New York: Houghton Mifflin
  • T. Timar (2006) State Strategies to Improve Low-Performing Schools: California’s High Priority School Grants Program. UC Davis, Center for Applied Policy in Education. School of Education
  • T. Timar (2006) Evaluating State Intervention: The High Priority Schools Grant Program. Crucial Issues in California Education2006: Rekindling Reform. University of California, Berkeley: Policy Analysis for California Education, School of Education. www.pace.berkeley.edu
  • T. Timar (2006) School Finance a California: A System Overview. School of Education, Stanford University School Finance Project.
  • T. Timar (2005) Exploring the Limits of Entitlement: Williams v. the State of California. Peabody Journal 80 (3)
  • T. Timar (2004) Categorical School Finance: Who Gains, Who Loses? (Working Paper Series 04-2). Policy Analysis for California Education, School of Education, University of California, Berkeley and Davis, Stanford University
  • Timar, T., Ogawa, R. & Orillion, M. (2003) “Expanding the University of California’s Outreach Mission.” Review of Higher Education. 27 (7)
  • Timar, T. (2003) “School Governance in California: Shaping the Landscape of Equity and Adequacy. “ Teachers College Record. Vol. 106, No. 11 (2004)
  • Timar, T. (2003)“The ‘New Accountability’ and School Governance,” Peabody Journal. 78 (4)
  • Timar, T. (2002) “You Can’t Always Get What You Want: School Governance in California” Institute for Democracy, Education and Access, UCLA. (http://idea.gseis.ucla.edu/publication/williams/index.html.)
  • Timar, T., Ogawa, R. & Orillion, M. (2001) “The University of California’s Outreach Strategy: Its Political and Institutional Origins,” with Rodney Ogawa and Marie Orillion. Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley; http://ishi.lib.berkeley.edu/cshe/
  • Ogawa, R. & Timar, T. (2002) “The Organization of School University Partnerships,” with Rodney Ogawa. Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley and UCOP
  • Timar, T. & Tyack, D. (1998) ‘The Invisible Hand of Ideology: Perspectives from History on School Governance.” In Governing America’s Schoools with David Tyack. National Commission on Governing America’s Schools. Education Commission of the States
  • Timar, T. (1997) “The Institutional Role of State Education Departments: A Historical Perspective.” American Journal of Education. Vol. 105, No. 3.
  • Timar, T. (1994) “Policy, Politics, and Categorical Aid: New Inequities in California School Finance,” Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis 16(2) 143-160
  • Timar, T. (1994) “Federal Educational Policy and Practice: Building Organizational Capacity through Chapter 1,” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 16(1) 51-66.
  • Timar, T. (1992) “Assessing the Quality and Effectiveness of Chapter 1 Services,” Commissioned paper for the Chapter One Testing Advisory Committee, US Department of Education.
  • Timar, T. (1992) “Reform and Resistance,” Essay review of In the Name of Excellence by Thomas Toch. International Journal of Educational Reform , Vol. 1, No. 2 , 203-208.
  • Timar, T. (1991) “A Theoretical Framework for Understanding Local Responses to State Policy,” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Vol. 11, No. 4 (329 342) Partly reprinted in Law and Educational Policy, M. Yudof and D. Kirp (eds) (St. Paul, Minn: West Law Publishing)
  • Timar, T. (1989) “The Politics of School Restructuring,” Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 71, No. 4 (264 275; feature article)
  • Timar, T. & Kirp, D. (1989) “State School Reform Efforts in the 1980s: Lessons from the States,” Phi Delta Kappan (with David L. Kirp) Vol. 70, No. 7 (504 511; Feature article)
  • Timar, T. & Kirp, D. (1988) “State Strategies to Reform Schools: Treading between A Regulatory Swamp and An English Garden,” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. Vol. 10 (75 88)
  • Timar, T. & Kirp, D. (1987) “Educational Reform and Institutional Competence,” Harvard Educational Review. Vol.57, No. 3 (308 330) Partly reprinted in Law and Educational Policy, M. Yudof and D. Kirp (eds) (St. Paul, Minn: West Law Publishing) 1991
  • Timar, T. (1987) “Policy Paper on Adult Education and Noncredit Community College Programs.” Prepared for the Commission to Review the Master Plan for Higher Education; Sacramento, California.
  • Timar, T. & Johnson, J. (1987) “Policy Paper on Adult Literacy.” Prepared for the Commission to Review the Master Plan for Higher Education; Sacramento, CA
  • Timar, T. (1981) “The Aftermath of Goss vs. Lopez in the Federal Courts” School Law Journal. Vol. 9, No. 2 (123 141)
  • Stern, D. & Timar, T. (1981) “Conflict and Choice in Public Education” Education and Urban Society. Vol. 14, No. 4 (485 510)

Professional Experience

  • Professor, UC Davis
  • Associate Professor, UC Riverside
  • Associate Professor, Visiting, UC Berkeley
  • Associate Professor, Visiting, Stanford
  • Assistant Professor, Visiting, Harvard

Awards and Honors

National Academy of Education/Spencer Post-doctoral Fellowship, 2010

Spencer Fellowship. Spencer Foundation, “Local Responses to State Policy,” 1991-1993

National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1990

Current Activities and Service

  • Director of Research, Governor’s Advisory Committee on Education Excellence (2006-07)
  • Trainer/Consultant. International Policy Fellows Program, Open Society Institute. 2000-2003.
  • Director, UC Education Abroad Program, Budapest, Hungarey
  • Consultant,Open Society Institute/Soros Network. Budapest, Hungary. 2001.
  • Director, Central European University, Summer University, Education Policy Program. 1998-2002.
  • Panelist. Research Advisory Panel. Education Commission of the States; Governing America’s Schools Project. 1998-2000.
  • Consultant, United Nations Development Program, Ukraine.
  • Consultant, USAID, Montenegro
  • Consultant, Ministry of Education, Lithuania
  • Consultant, Ministry of Education, Latvia
  • Consultant, National Institute for Education, Budapest Hungary

Courses Taught at UC Davis

  • Education Policy: Concepts and Methods
  • Education Policy and Law
  • Politics of Education: Who Controls Schools?
  • Education Finance Policy
  • The Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education

Funded Research

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: State Strategies to Improve Low-performing Schools: California’s High Priority Schools Grant Program
  • Office of the President, University of California. (With Rodney Ogawa) A study of the political and institutional forces that shaped UC’s current outreach efforts; institutional and organizational responses to outreach in the UC system.
  • Center for Studies in Higher Education, University of California, Berkeley. Study of other states’ policy responses to the elimination of affirmative action in university admissions.
  • National Science Foundation, Enhancing Math and Science Instruction: A Comprehensive Study of the Role of State Education Departments and Other Agencies.
  • Culpepper Foundation Gran: The Emerging State Role in Education Policy Making
  • Culpepper Foundation. School Restructuring and The Coalition of Essential Schools
  • Spencer Foundation Small Grant, The Politics of School Restructuring.
  • Southwest Bell Foundation. State policy and school restructuring.
  • Utah State Department of Education, Policy Evaluation of the Utah Career Ladder System.
  • California Post-Secondary Commission. (Co-Principal Investigator) Staff Development in California.

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