The Heller School for Social Policy and Management

Tara M. Brown

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Education Program

Tara M. Brown's photo


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Areas of expertise include:

Urban secondary education, particularly as related to the educational experiences of Black and Latina/o students

Relationships between race, class, gender and educational policies and practices

School dropout and relationships between educational attainment and labor market outcomes, and other economic conditions

School discipline practices and policies, particularly as related to the experiences of Black, Latino, and special needs students, as well as intersections between school discipline policies and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004)

Qualitative, ethnographic, participatory, and participatory action research methods


  • Harvard University
  • Harvard University
  • Lesley College
  • Lesley College

Tara M. Brown

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Education Program


I hold a doctorate degree in education from Harvard University and is the recipient of a Spencer Research Fellowship and a Jacobs Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. I am a former secondary classroom teacher, having worked in secondary alternative education. My research currently focuses on urban, secondary education, specifically disciplinary exclusion and dropout, using qualitative, mixed methods, and participatory and action research methodologies. My publications include, a co-edited special issue of New Directions for Youth Development, entitled, “Participatory action research with youth” (2009), “ARISE to the challenge: Partnering with urban youth to improve educational research and learning” (2010) in Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education, and “The Effects of Educational Policy and Local Context on Special Education Students’ Experiences of School Removal and Transition,” forthcoming in Educational Policy. My most recent research is entitled, Uncredentialed: Young Adults Living without a Secondary Degree. This mixed-methods, community-based participatory study focuses on the social, educational, and economic causes and implications of school dropout among young adults living in mid-sized, post-industrial cities in the Northeast.

Awards and Honors

  • College of Education Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Maryland, College Park (2008) (2008)