Professional and Biographical Information


Ph.D., joint education and history, University of Pennsylvania (2024)
M.A., history, University of Pennsylvania (2021)
B.A., Plan II, history, international relations, University of Texas at Austin (2013)

Research Interests

History of education, education policy, political history, school finance, education and inequality, race and ethnicity, social studies education

Through his research, Professor McLeod seeks to understand and explain how past decisions and policies have shaped the current state of U.S. education. He wants to make the hidden history of public policy visible to all, thereby uncovering hidden stories of educational injustice and inequity. By conveying the history of educational policy-making, he hopes to empower his readers and students to make fully informed, historically-attuned decisions about public education and our democratic system.

Professor McLeod's first book project, "Unequal by Design: School Finance and State Development in Texas, 18452016," focuses on the links between property wealth, government fiscal policy, and school quality.  His research on the history of school funding highlights the developmental trajectory that brought us to the present, illuminating who our school finance system was—and was not—designed to serve.  Through a study of Texas’s school finance system, "Unequal by Design" argues that a political culture that prioritized low taxes and economic growth led to a highly unequal public school system structured by racial, ethnic, and class disparities. When we follow the money, the vaunted American commitment to equal public education for all became, in Texas, a path to inequality. "Unequal by Design" has won competitive national awards in the fields of education and history including from the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation; the National Fellowship with the Jefferson Scholars Foundation; and the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library.

Professor McLeod's second book project, "Teaching Economics the Right Way: American Conservatives and the Campaign for Free Market Economics in the Public Schools," focuses on how and what students learned about economics. The project grew out of his experience as a Texas AP Economics teacher. He became interested in how economics, and in particular, a certain kind of economics, came to be offered in American public high schools. While the rise of American conservatism in the Reagan era has drawn much scholarly attention, the movement for free market economics in U.S. public schools is virtually unknown. Professor McLeod's project tells the history of how right-leaning businesses successfully pushed for high schools to offer economics with the goal of influencing American sentiment towards business and free enterprise. He traces how economics came to be a common course in American high schools and what the spread of high school economics has meant for American democracy and economic justice.

Teaching Interests

Teaching runs in Professor McLeod's family, and he is passionate about learning and growing as a teacher.  He started his career as a high school social studies teacher, and the experience of teaching and learning with his students was invaluable. He orients his classrooms around education as empowerment, giving his students the tools to gather and process knowledge about the world around them and the writing skills to convey that knowledge. He works with students to create a culture of collaboration, to develop ways of thinking critically, and to approach learning with excitement and wonder.

At Amherst, Professor McLeod teaches interdisciplinary education studies courses that examine the purpose of education and how it relates to other economic, cultural, and societal systems.  In the fall of 2024, he will be teaching Advanced Writing and Research in Education Studies (EDST-470), which brings students together to work on their intensive education research projects and provides resources for connecting them to schools, engaging with the community, and developing their academic work.  He will also be debuting a new class, Culture Wars in U.S. Education (EDST-210/AMST-209), which explores key culture war issues in schools from the past to the present.


McLeod IV, Angus. “The Roots of Inequality: Texas School Politics and the Leadup to Rodriguez.” History of Education Quarterly 63, no. 4 (November 2023): 51643.

McLeod IV, Angus. “Raj Chetty.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Educational Thinkers, edited by Brett A. Geier, 118. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2023.