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Sarah Reckhow

Sarah Reckhow

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Sarah Reckhow is an expert on education policy, urban and state politics, and philanthropy and nonprofits in public policy.

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Area of Expertise

Philanthropy Racial Politics State Politics Education Policy Every Student Suceeds Act Local Politics Ethnic Politics


Sarah Reckhow is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University. Her research and teaching interests include urban politics, education policy, nonprofits and philanthropy, and racial and ethnic politics. Reckhow’s work on urban schools has focused on policy reforms in New York City, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Detroit. Her award-winning book with Oxford University Press, Follow the Money: How Foundation Dollars Change Public School Politics, examines the ... role of major foundations, such as the Gates Foundation, in urban school reform. Reckhow was awarded a research grant from the W.T. Grant Foundation (with Megan Tompkins-Stange) to study the use of research evidence in the development of teacher quality policy debates. She has recently published articles in the Journal of Urban Affairs, Policy Studies Journal, and Planning Theory. Reckhow is affiliated with the Global Urban Studies Program and the Education Policy Center at Michigan State. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2009. Previously, Reckhow taught history and government at Frederick Douglass High School in the Baltimore City Public Schools.

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University of California - Berkley: Ph.D., Political Science | 2009

Harvard University: B.A., Social Studies | 2002

Selected Press

Experts expect high voter turnout among MSU students. The question is where they'll vote.

Lansing State Journal | 2020-10-28

College students are less likely than older generations. Just 46.1% of 18 to 29 year olds voted in 2016, according to U.S. Census data, compared with about 70.9% of voters at least 65 years old and 66.6% of adults between the ages of 45 to 64. But this year, college students around the country are expected to vote in record numbers. “I do expect to see (high student voter turnout),” said Sarah Reckhow, an associate professor of political science at MSU, who said the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and political turmoil have helped increase enthusiasm among student voters. “Young people were especially engaged. I would connect a number of different dots here that shows this election…the level of interest is extraordinary.”

Reforms we voted for two years ago have prepared Michigan for pandemic voting

Lansing State Journal | 2020-10-28

This op-ed was written by Sarah Reckhow, a professor of political science at Michigan State University, who serves on the MSUvote committee. We, as Michiganders and Americans, cannot let the COVID-19 pandemic stop us from voting in the 2020 federal election. Voters in our state passed a package of measures in 2018 that provide voters with multiple options to ensure their vote is safe and secure. In 2018, Michigan adopted a package of election reforms, known as Proposal 3. These reforms include no-excuse absentee voting (enabling voters to request an absentee ballot without providing a reason) and same day voter registration (enabling voters to register and cast a ballot on the same day, including Election Day).

Detroit and Flint keep relying on private money to solve public problems. Why?

The Washington Post | 2018-11-27

In most U.S. public schools, it’s no big deal when students sip water from a drinking fountain — but it is in Detroit and Flint, Mich. Detroit’s 2018-2019 school year began with the school system’s water shut off because of elevated levels of toxic lead. In Flint, school officials have kept the tap water off since the 2014 lead-in-water crisis; this year, they sought funding for drinking water stations for the 2018-2019 school year.

MSU-led internship program helps Detroit move forward

Detroit Free Press | 2018-07-14

“We work with partners to identify projects where student interns can contribute in meaningful ways to support the work of public agencies and nonprofits in Detroit,” said Reckhow.