Huriya Jabbar, assistant professor of educational policy and planning at The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education, has been selected as a 2016 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow. The fellowship award of $70,000 is intended to assist with the fellow’s salary replacement and research expenses for the year.
Jabbar studies the social and political dimensions of market-based reforms and the shift from publicly to privately operated education. Her research has examined school choice policy, privatization, the politics of research use, and student decision-making in higher education. She was a 2013–2014 recipient of the National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship, which supported her study of school choice and competition in New Orleans.
The new award will fund Jabbar’s field work in New Orleans, Louisiana; Detroit, Michigan; and San Antonio, Texas; three cities with moderate to high percentages of students attending charter schools (90%, 55%, and 25% respectively). She will spend most of the fellowship collecting data by interviewing teachers and observing teacher job fairs, after which she will analyze the data for publication.
“The idea is to explore how teachers find and choose jobs in cities with high numbers of charter schools,” says Jabbar, who aims “to explore how school choice and charters are changing the landscape of the teacher labor market, in addition to changing schooling options for parents.”
A key component of the study will be exploring the role of teachers' social networks in their decisions about where to work or whether to switch jobs. “This is important because these voluntary moves have significant implications for the distribution of teacher quality across schools,” says Jabbar.
This year, 30 fellows were selected from a competitive pool of 176 applications from scholars of education. The fellowships are administered by the National Academy of Education, an honorary educational society, and they are funded by a grant to the Academy from the Spencer Foundation. Now in its 30th year, the fellowship program has nearly 800 alumni who include many of the strongest education researchers in the field today.