Jeannie Oakes, UCLA Presidential Professor Emerita in Educational Equity and founding director of Center X and the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA) at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, has been appointed by President Obama as a member of the National Board for Education Sciences.

The board oversees federal policy and spending on educational research and serves as advisory to the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education; the National Center for Education Statistics; and the National Regional Education Laboratories. The board will meet throughout the year to shape a national agenda for educational research and set priorities for the current administration. UCLA professor of education Emerita Kris Gutiérrez is also a member of the National Board for Education Sciences.

“I would like to see a stronger and more explicit focus on supporting research on issues of race and social justice,” says Oakes, who will serve a five-year term on the board. “We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about poverty and that’s very important. However, as we’re seeing in the current milieu, we’ve not solved our problems around social injustice. The education system has a great deal to contribute to a more racially just society, and I will be interested in in encouraging a research agenda that can inform this important work.”

Oakes and UCLA professor of education John Rogers founded IDEA in 2000 with the goal of using UCLA’s research capacity and commitment to bring together the diverse communities of Los Angeles to address the most critical issues in public education. IDEA faculty, postdoctoral scholars, staff and graduate students partner with students, parents, teachers and grassroots organizations to conduct research on the possibilities and challenges of educational change.

“Supporting an increasingly diverse democracy to be even more democratic – culturally democratic as well as politically democratic – is the challenge of our time,” says Oakes. “I would love the federal government to support work in that area. A lot of my UCLA colleagues are doing that kind of work, and those are my roots as well.”

“[At UCLA], I worked with many, many young talented scholars of color who bring so much to the education research world, so I will be eager to do things that are supporting work that they can lead and engage with,” she says. ”I also came to understand much more about how research needs to be engaged in the public sphere. Scholars have to get out of the ivory tower and into the real world so that their expertise and knowledge can actually become useful to people who want to solve problems.”

Oakes is currently a senior fellow in residence at the Learning Policy Institute, a position she has held since its founding in 2015. Prior to this, she served as director of educational opportunity and scholarship at the Ford Foundation. She has also served as director of the University of California’s All Campus Consortium on Research.

Oakes is the author of 17 books and monographs and more than 100 research reports, chapters and articles. Her recent books include “Learning Power: Organizing for Education and Justice” (with J. Rogers. Teachers College Press, 2006); “Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality” (2005, Yale University Press); and “Teaching to Change the World” (McGraw-Hill, 2002, 2nd edition). Oakes also co-authored “Beyond Tracking: Can Multiple High School Pathways Prepare All Students for College, Career, and Civic Participation?” with IDEA colleague Marisa Saunders, which was released in 2008.

Oakes is currently working on the 5th edition of “Teaching to Change the World,” which was originally conceived as a textbook for Center X’s Teacher Education Program; the book will be released in fall of 2017. She is also editing a forthcoming book, “Time for Equity,” which focuses on the ways that schools serving communities of concentrated poverty and racial isolation can create “more and better learning time” through partnerships with community groups, expanded school hours and summer programs to provide educational opportunities comparable to those available to students in more advantaged communities.

Oakes is the recipient of four major American Educational Research Association (AERA) awards; the California Educational Research Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award; the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education’s Margaret Lindsey Research Award; the National Association for Multicultural Education’s Multicultural Research Award; the Educational Press Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award; and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Ralph David Abernathy Award for Community Service. She is also immediate past president of AERA and a member of the National Academy of Education. She received a B.A. from San Diego State University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from UCLA.