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Diane Schanzenbach Elected to National Academy of Education

IPR director recognized for outstanding contributions to education research

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In her research, Schanzenbach studies policies aimed at improving the lives of children in poverty, including education, health, and income support policies.

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach
IPR Director Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach is the 10th Northwestern faculty member to be elected to the 
National Academy of Education.

IPR Director and economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach has been elected to the esteemed National Academy of Education (NAEd) in recognition of her outstanding research contributions on education issues.

Schanzenbach, the Margaret Walker Alexander Professor, joins a distinguished roster of nine previously-elected IPR and Northwestern faculty members who are currently academy members. They include Northwestern President and Professor Morton Schapiro and David Figlio, dean of the School of Education and Social Policy, as well as Associate Provost Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and IPR statistician and education researcher Larry Hedges, who recently won the 2018 Yidan Prize for Education Research (see the complete list below).

Founded in 1965, the academy seeks to “advance high-quality education research and its use in policy and practice.” A highly selective organization, its 200-plus members are elected on the basis of their scholarship in the field of education, and help to train the next generation of education scholars.

“This diverse group of scholars is being recognized for their extraordinary contributions to education research and policy. These leaders are at the forefront of those helping to improve the lives of students in the United States and abroad,” said Gloria Ladson-Billings, the academy’s president.

In her research, Schanzenbach studies policies aimed at improving the lives of children in poverty, including education, health, and income support policies. Her studies have also examined school finance reforms and how they can promote equal education opportunity, dissected the pros and cons of redshirting kindergarteners, elucidated key considerations for policymakers in designing more effective preschool programs, and examined how students in high-quality kindergarten classrooms had better long-term outcomes, such as earning more, owning a home, and going to college. Her articles have appeared in leading economic and policy journals.

Most recently, her work has focused on how income-support programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program), offer vital long-term benefits to children, in particular those who received food stamps before the age of five. In testimony before the Senate on nutrition programs in the 2018 Farm Bill, Schanzenbach called SNAP a “smart public investment that will improve both public health and economic growth.”

She also serves as director of Northwestern’s Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences, which trains doctoral students from different disciplines in state-of-the-art education research methods.

Before becoming IPR director in September 2017, Schanzenbach acquired substantial policy expertise in her two years as director of the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. She has testified before both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Schanzenbach is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. She received her PhD in economics from Princeton University in 2002.

“Whether making large advances in studying ‘bread-and-butter’ education policy questions—like how much school spending, high-stakes testing, or class size matters—or pushing the field in new directions—like investigating the human capital implications of early childhood nutrition—few scholars have made as large an impact at her career stage as Diane Schanzenbach has,” Figlio said. “It’s a privilege to have her as a colleague and thought partner.”

Schanzenbach will be inducted into the academy at its annual meeting in November 2019.

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach is the Margaret Walker Alexander Professor and IPR director and fellow.

Northwestern National Academy of Education Members

Published: March 4, 2019.