Assistant Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University
368 Farm Lane
East Lansing, MI 48824
Areas of Expertise & Civic InvolvementsReckhow’s research examines education policy and social welfare policy, particularly in urban areas. Her work on urban schools has focused on policy reforms in New York City, Los Angeles, and Oakland. She is an expert on the rising influence of major foundations, such as the Gates Foundation, on education policy and politics. She has also analyzed philanthropic support for metropolitan social safety nets in Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, and Denver. This research was published in a report from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. Reckhow is affiliated with the Global Urban Studies Program at Michigan State, the Education Policy Center at Michigan State, and the MacArthur Foundation’s Building Resilient Regions research network.
"Building a Stronger Regional Safety Net: Philanthropy’s Role," (with Margaret Weir), The Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Opportunity Series, 2011.
Shows how philanthropy affects the scope of social safety net services in four metropolitan areas—Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, and Detroit.
"Policy Cues and Ideology in Attitudes toward Charter Schools" (with Matt Grossmann and Benjamin C. Evans). Policy Studies Journal 46, no. 2 (2015).
Investigates whether and how public attitudes reflect interest group polarization or politician consensus surrounding the charter school debate. Argues that charter school opinions diverge along ideological lines among high-information respondents and assesses whether the role of private companies and nonunion teachers changes support for charter schools.
Follow the Money: How Foundation Dollars Change Public School Politics (Oxford University Press, 2013).
Shows where and how foundation investment in education is occurring and analyzes of the political effects of these investments in the two largest urban districts in the United States: New York City and Los Angeles.
"Disseminating and Legitimating a New Approach: The Role of Foundations" in Between Public and Private: Politics, Governance, and the New Portfolio Models for Urban School Reform, edited by Katrina E. Bulkley, Jeffrey R. Henig, and Henry M. Levin (Harvard Education Press, 2011), 277-304.
Shows the expansion of education reform nonprofits supported by major national foundations, and demonstrates how this national network of nonprofits links organizations engaged in market-oriented reform across different cities.
"How to Reform a Reform Coalition: Outreach, Agenda Expansion, and Brokerage in Urban School Reform" (with Chris Ansell and Andrew Kelly). Policy Studies Journal 37, no. 4 (2009): 717-743.
Maps the education reform coalition in Oakland and examines the political impact of foundation-funded small schools reform.
"The Distinct Patterns of Organized and Elected Representation of Racial and Ethnic Groups" Urban Affairs Review 45, no. 2 (2009): 188-217.
Uses an original data set of organizations in 30 U.S. cities to evaluate the extent of racial and ethnic organizational representation, as well as the effect of organized representation on elected representation of racial and ethnic groups.
Sarah Reckhow quoted on the Boardroom Progressives in Sherman Dorn and Amanda U. Potterton, "Arne Duncan’s Legacy: Growing Influence of a Network of Private Actors on Public Education" The Conversation, October 8, 2015.
Sarah Reckhow quoted on the effectiveness of the language used by pro-charter school advocates in advancing their cause in Rebecca Klein, "Study Finds Pro-Charter School Arguments are More Convincing" Huffington Post, January 27, 2015.
Sarah Reckhow quoted on shaping public opinion about charter schools in Kyle Feldscher, "Michigan State Study: Charter School Opponents Make Less Effective Arguments than Supporters" MLive, January 22, 2015.
Talks and Briefings
"Winning the Sprint, Losing the Marathon: Philanthropy’s Race for Education Reform," Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy, University of Southern California, September 2013.
"How Foundation Dollars Change Public School Politics," Columbia School of Journalism’s New York Times Institute Workshop: “Private Money, Public Schools”, New York, NY, May 2011.