Dr. Julie Marsh is a Professor of Education Policy at the Rossier School of Education and Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California, Faculty Director of Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) at USC, and Co-Director of the Rossier Center on Education Policy, Equity and Governance (CEPEG). Marsh specializes in research on K-12 policy and governance, blending perspectives in education, sociology, and political science. Her work has focused on accountability and instructional policy, with particular attention to the process and politics of adoption and implementation, and the ways in which policies advance or inhibit equity and shape practice in urban settings. This has included studies of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and NCLB-waiver systems, school turnaround, teacher evaluation policy, literacy coaches, and math and science curricular reforms. One cross-cutting focus of this work relates to how teachers and administrators use data to inform their practice. A second major strand of her research examines educational governance and efforts to decentralize and democratize decision-making. These studies investigate school choice policy, participatory reforms calling for stakeholder engagement, efforts to provide greater local control over school finance, and “portfolio” reforms that diversify management of school operations.
Marsh is director of qualitative research and co-PI of the National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice (REACH), funded by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Science., and leads a California study of school district governance. This collective research focuses on policy and organizational responses to COVID-19 and heightened awareness around racial injustice. Marsh was recently co-PI of a Spencer Foundation-funded study of governance reform in Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Denveris and founding member of the Local Control Funding Formula Research Collaborative studying the implementation of California’s finance and accountability policy. Recent publications include: "Social Construction Is Racial Construction: Examining the Target Populations in School-Choice Policies" (forthcoming American Journal of Education), "The process and politics of educational governance change in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Denver" (American Educational Research Journal), "Institutional logics in Los Angeles schools: Do multiple models disrupt the grammar of schooling? (American Journal of Education), "Civic engagement in education: Trends and tensions in California" (Education Finance and Policy), and “Evaluating Teachers in the Big Easy: How organizational context shapes policy responses in New Orleans” (Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis). She is also co-author of Challenging the “One Best System”? The Portfolio Management Model and Urban School Governance (Harvard Education Press), author of Democratic Dilemmas: Joint Work, Education Politics, and Community (SUNY Press), and co-editor of School Districts and Instructional Renewal (Teachers College Press). Marsh is currently co-editor of the AERA journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. http://usc.academia.edu/JulieMarsh/
Prior to coming to USC in July 2010, Marsh was at the RAND Corporation where she last served as Senior Policy Researcher. She received a Ph.D. in Education Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University, a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley, and B.A. in American Studies from Stanford University.
A RAND study led by Marsh earned media attention in July 2011 when the New York Department of Education ended a bonus program as a result of its findings. A Big Apple for Educators: New York City’s Experiment With Schoolwide Performance Bonuses found that the New York City schoolwide performance bonus program had no effect on students’ test scores, school report cards, or the way teachers reported doing their jobs. The New York Times was among the news outlets to feature the report.
Facutly Teaching Award, USC Rossier School of Education (2019)
USC Faculty Mentoring Award, Mentoring Graduate Students (2018)
Marsh specializes in research on K-12 policy, governance, and equity. Her research blends perspectives in education, sociology, and political science. Over the past 20 years, much of her research has examined accountability and instructional policy, with particular attention to the process and politics of adoption and implementation, and the ways in which policies shape practice in urban settings. This has included studies of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and NCLB-waiver systems, school turnaround, and teacher evaluation policy. Marsh has also closely examined policies intended to support teachers and improve teaching, including research on literacy coaches and math and science curricular reforms. One cross-cutting focus of this work relates to how teachers and administrators use data—not only test score results, but also student work, data on instructional quality, and data generated from the community—to inform their decisions and practice. A second major strand of her research examines educational governance and efforts to decentralize and democratize decision-making. Often focused on school districts as central actors in educational reform, these studies investigate school choice policy, participatory reforms calling for parent and stakeholder engagement, efforts to provide greater local control over school finance, and “portfolio” reforms that diversify management of school operations. These studies examine implementation, with a focus on the ways in which these reforms involve and affect underserved and historically marginalized students and stakeholders.
Co-Principal Investigator (Doug Harris, PI: Katharine Strunk, Josh Cowen, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Co-PIs). National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice (REACH). U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Science.
Co-Principal Investigator (with LCFF Research Collaborative members). Implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula.
Co-Principal Investigator (with Katharine Strunk, Katy Bulkley, Doug Harris). The New “One Best System”? Urban Governance and Educational Practice in the Portfolio Management Model.
Co-Principal Investigator. (with Heather Hough). PACE-CORE Accountability System Evaluation.
Co-Principal Investigator (with Katharine Strunk). A Five-Year Evaluation of the Los Angeles Unified School District Teacher Incentive Fund Grant. LAUSD
Co-Principal Investigator (with Gale Sinatra). Speedometry: Developing and Evaluating a Hot Wheels STEM Curriculum.” Mattel Children’s Foundation (2014-2017)
Co-Principal Investigator (with Katharine Strunk). Evaluation of LAUSD’s Investing in Innovation (i3) Project, “Los Angeles’ Bold Competition - Turning Around and Operating Its Low-Performing Schools.” U.S. Department of Education (2010-2014)
Principal Investigator. Bridging the Data-Practice Divide: How Coaches and Data Teams Work to Build Teacher Capacity to Use Data. Spencer Foundation (2011-2013)