At the center of Herbert Kohl’s teaching and writing has been a commitment to equity and justice. He attended the Bronx High School of Science and studied philosophy and mathematics at Harvard, Oxford and Columbia University. After getting a B.A. at Harvard, spending a year as a Henry Fellow at University College, Oxford and another year as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Columbia, he became a sixth grade teacher in Harlem.
Kohl has been teaching and writing for over forty years. During that time he has taught every grade from kindergarten through graduate school. From 1962 to 1968 he ran a storefront school for junior high and high school students, worked as curriculum coordinator for the Parent Board of the I.S. 201 Community School District and was founder and first director of the Teachers’ and Writers’ Collaborative.
In 1964 Kohl published his first book, The Age of Complexity, about analytic and existential philosophy. His first writings on education, Teaching the Unteachable, The Language and Education of the Deaf, 36 Children and The Open Classroom were published from 1965 to 1967.
Recently he was a senior fellow at the Open Society Institute, a part of the Soros Foundations Network. Currently he is director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Social Justice at the University of San Francisco.