Janelle Scott appointed as chair of Educational Disparities research cluster

Sara Grossman

Communications and Media Specialist
Press Release

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Janelle Scott profile pictureWe are proud to welcome Janelle Scott as the Robert C. and Mary Catherine Birgeneau Distinguished Chair in Educational Disparities, leading the Haas Institute’s Race, Diversity, and Educational Disparities research cluster. Scott is an Associate Professor in UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education as well as in the African American Studies Department.

Scott has been a faculty member at UC Berkeley since 2008 and a longtime member of Educational Disparities cluster. In both roles, Scott has demonstrated prolific scholarship in the field of education policy, particularly the role of race and inequality in the politics and policies of K-12 education. Her research has connected three distinct threads: the ways in which education research has been used for political purposes and as policy advocacy; the role of "intermediary organizations" like Teach for America in shaping education policy and politics; and the implications of education research, these intermediary organizations, and the push for market-based reforms on questions of civil rights and inequality.

“In light of the acute racial, linguistic, and socioeconomic segregation experienced by so many of our public school districts and local schools, the education policy cluster is focused on policies, pedagogies, and practices that increase democratic governance, integration, and more robust and targeted resources,” Scott said of the cluster’s work. “We are also focused on the retreat from civil rights enforcement and how states, county offices of education, and local school districts might ramp up their oversight of racial disproportionality in school discipline, special education, and funding."

Scott was a co-author on the educational cluster’s policy brief, “Responding to Educational Inequality: Addressing Race and Social Class Disparities to  Increase Opportunity,” released in 2016. In that report, Scott and other members discuss the continuing reproduction of educational inequality in relation to race and social class. In doing so, they highlight several key issues in how we study and attempt to ameliorate disparities through educational policy. Scott will discuss the report at an upcoming Haas Institute event on September 21.

Beyond her work with the Haas Institute, Scott has also been an active member of the larger campus community and her own academic departments. She served on the Chancellor's Senate/Administration Committee on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, and the Diversity, Equity, and Campus Climate Committee, was a faculty affiliate of UC Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender and the Center for the Study of Right-Wing Politics, and has taken on leadership roles in the American Educational Research Association.

Since her appointment to the education cluster, Scott has “provided strong intellectual leadership for the cluster,” said Haas Institute Director john a. powell. “There is enthusiastic support for Scott's appointment within the cluster and beyond the cluster as well.”