Janelle Scott

Research Expertise and Interest

educational policy, charter schools, politics of education, race and education, school choice, desegregation, philanthropy and education, advocacy

Research Description

Janelle Scott is a Professor at the University of California at Berkeley in the School of Education and African American Studies Department. She earned a Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of California at Los Angeles’ Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley. Before earning her doctorate, she worked as an elementary teacher in Oakland, California.

Professor Scott’s research investigates how market-based educational reforms affect democratic accountability and equity within our nation’s schools. Professor Scott has provided conceptual frameworks and empirical analysis to help understand the impacts these policies have had on students, schools, and their surrounding communities. She has explored this research program across three policy strands: 1) the racial politics of public education, 2) the politics of school choice, marketization, and privatization, and, 3) the role of elite and community-based advocacy in shaping public education. Her work has appeared in several edited books and journals, including the Peabody Journal of Education, Educational Policy, Qualitative Inquiry, the American Educational Research Journal, and the Harvard Educational Review. She the editor of School choice and diversity: What the evidence says (2005 Teachers College Press). With Sonya Douglass and Gary Anderson, she is a co-author of The Politics of Education in an Era of Inequality: Possibilities for democratic schooling (2018 Routledge; Winner American Educational Studies Critic’s Choice Book Award, 2020), and with Monisha Bajaj, co-editor of the 2023 World Yearbook of Education: Racialization and educational inequality in global perspective (Routledge). 

Professor Scott was awarded a Spencer Dissertation Year Fellowship, and a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. In 2014, she was awarded the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Educational Research Association’s Committee on Scholars of Color.  In 2017, the Graduate Assembly at UC Berkeley awarded Professor Scott with a Distinguished Faculty Mentorship Award. Professor Scott is a Fellow of the American Education Research Association, and a Member of the National Academy of Education. She also serves as a trustee with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

She served as the Vice President of the American Educational Research Association's Division L (Educational Policy and Politics, 2019-2022). She has been active in the American Educational Research Association, and the Politics of Education Association. She serves on the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Research Scholars Program. In addition, she has been active in service to national organizations, including the Ford Foundation’s Building Knowledge for Social Justice Initiative, The National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder, the World Education Research Association, International Research Network on Marketization and Privatization, and the Forum for Public Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. 

In the News

Who owns America’s schools? Professor Janelle Scott on ‘No Jargon’ podcast

With education in the U.S. becoming more privatized than ever before comes mounting inequality within the education system, says Janelle Scott, a professor in the Graduate School of Education and the Department of African American Studies at UC Berkeley. In an interview with No Jargon, a podcast by the Scholar’s Strategy Network, Scott discusses what charter schools and vouchers are, why they are so controversial and how they disproportionately lead to public school closures in urban areas.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
September 16, 2019
With the proliferation of charter schools and voucher programs, education in the U.S. is becoming increasingly privatized, and that's exacerbating inequality, education and African American studies professor Janelle Scott says in a No Jargon podcast. "We are seeing, I think, some very robust and deep trends in urban school districts around the country, around these particular forms of privatization," she says. "Many districts are facing a situation in which both gentrification and growing inequality has meant that they have schools that they have deemed underutilized. And so, they are engaging in closures. And what's happening is that we're seeing a parallel growth in the number of charter schools in those districts. And we're also seeing heightened activity, in terms of contracting with the private sector to provide services that the district had otherwise been providing." Link to audio. For more on this, see our story at Berkeley News.
Loading Class list ...