Donato 2021
Professor • Bob & Judy Charles Endowed Chair
Educational Foundations, Policy & Practice

Miramontes Baca Education Building, Room 505
University of Colorado Boulder
249 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309

Rubén Donato is Professor and Chair of Educational Foundations, Policy and Practice in the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder. Professor Donato is an educational historian interested in the education of non-dominant students in the United States and the historical dimensions of educational equality, with a specialty in Latino education. He is author of The Other Struggle for Equal Schools: Mexican Americans during the Civil Rights Era (1997) and Mexicans and Hispanos in Colorado Schools and Communities, 1920-1960 (2007), both with SUNY Press. 

Professor Donato teaches courses such as School and Society, History of American Education, and the Doctoral Seminar in Multicultural Education.

Professor Donato is an American Educational Research Association (AERA) fellow, was AERA Chair of the Committee on Scholars of Color in Education, and served as AERA Program Chair of Division F (History and Historiography). He was a National Academy of Education Post Doctoral Fellow and was recently elected as an at-large council member of the American Educational Research Association.

His teaching excellence has been recognized on several occasions, including the University of Colorado at Boulder “Gold Best Should Teach Award.”


PhD Education (history), Stanford University, 1987
MA History, Stanford University, 1985
BA History, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1979

My research interest brought me a long way from my previous work on The Other Struggle for Equal Schools and the educational histories of Mexicans and Hispanos in Colorado.  I am currently interested and conducting research on Latino educational history in the United States.

My teaching interests are related to history, educational foundations, and policy. I am committed to sharing historical inquiry and theoretical and empirical scholarship on teacher education with individuals who are studying to become public school teachers and teacher educators.

Courses frequently taught:

EDUC 5085: History of American Education

In this course we examine the evolution of American public schools, explore some of the major reform movements from the 18th century to the end of the progressive era, and combine various perspectives on the interpretation of American educational history. Throughout the course we attempt to understand what intellectuals at the time thought about public education and what ordinary people were experiencing in public schools. Within this context, we will assess how differences of race, class, ethnicity, gender, and power shaped public schools. A basic premise of the course is that the reality of schools appeared different to various groups and individuals. We approach American educational history from many perspectives.

EDUC 3013: School, Society and Elementary Teaching

This course examines the relationship between school and society. It explores general curriculum theories, questions about academic success and failure, educational inequality, curriculum differentiation, testing, charter schools, and other controversial topics. Within the context of schooling, we also explore issues of race, class, ethnicity, and power.

(For complete list of publications, please see the faculty member's curriculum vitae.)


Donato, R. (2003). Sugar beets, segregation and schools:  Mexican Americans in a northern Colorado community, 1920-1960. Journal of Latinos and Education, 2(2), 69-88.

Donato, R., & Lazerson, M. (2000). New directions in American educational history: Problems and prospects.  Educational Researcher, 29(8), 1-15.

Donato, R. (1999). Hispano education and the implications of autonomy: Four school systems in southern Colorado, 1920—1964. Harvard Educational Review, 69(2), 117-149.

Lucas, T., Henze, R., & Donato, R. (1990). Promoting the success of Latino language-minority students: An exploratory study of six high schools. Harvard Educational Review, 60(3), 315-340.