Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.A. in curriculum and instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A. in sociology and psychology, Loyola University-New Orleans
Critical race theory, critical theory, spatial and place-based theories, cultural studies, African American education, urban educational policy, charter schools, policy networks, grassroots educational organizing, history curriculum, schooling in the U.S. South
Kristen Buras is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. She was a Wisconsin-Spencer Fellow and received her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her early books include Rightist Multiculturalism: Core Lessons on Neoconservative School Reform (2008) and The Subaltern Speak: Curriculum, Power and Educational Struggles, co-edited with Michael Apple (2006).
Buras has spent nearly two decades researching school reform in New Orleans, the nation’s first all-charter-school district. Guided by a commitment to grassroots community engagement and informed by critical theories of race, political economy, and space, her research explores the effects of charter school expansion and alternative teacher recruitment on the city’s African American communities. She is the co-founder and director of the New Orleans-based Urban South Grassroots Research Collective for Public Education (USGRC), a coalition dedicated to melding community concerns with equity-focused research. Along these lines, Buras was granted the Distinguished Scholar-Activist Award by Critical Educators for Social Justice of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).
Buras co-authored Pedagogy, Policy and the Privatized City: Stories of Dispossession and Defiance from New Orleans (2010) with veteran teacher Jim Randels, poet and educator Kalamu ya Salaam, and Students at the Center, a longstanding writing program. The book, which included the counterstories of New Orleans youth on the transformation of public schools and neighborhoods, received recognition for its outstanding contribution to the field from the Curriculum Studies Division of AERA. In the book, critical scholars responded to youth narratives by drawing on experiences with privatization in cities across the nation.
Buras is also the author of Charter Schools, Race and Urban Space: Where the Market Meets Grassroots Resistance (2015), her most comprehensive work-to-date. It chronicles the strategic takeover of New Orleans Public Schools in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the effects of charter school expansion from 2005-2015, with an emphasis on racial inequities. Additionally, her work has been published in Harvard Educational Review, Peabody Journal of Education, Race Ethnicity and Education, Educational Policy, Berkeley Review of Education and in numerous edited books.
By invitation, Buras has spoken at an array of universities, including Columbia, Dillard, Fordham, Loyola, Harvard and Tulane, and as part of community-based forums in New Orleans, Nashville, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and elsewhere. In addition to scholarly venues, her work has appeared in the popular press locally and nationally (e.g., The New Orleans Tribune and The Progressive magazine), been featured on numerous blogs (e.g., Jennifer Berkshire, Julian Vasquez Heilig, Diane Ravitch) and aired or local and national radio programs (e.g., Raynard Sanders’ “The New Orleans Imperative” and Sam Seder’s “Majority Report”).
Buras is past associate editor for the Journal of Education Policy. Currently, she is a Fellow of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder. At Georgia State University, she has received the “Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award for Graduate Teaching” as well as the dean’s “Faculty Research Leave for Scholarly Excellence” in the College of Education and Human Development.
Buras is working on two forthcoming books. What We Stand to Lose: The Legacy of Carver High School and the Threat of School Closures presents extensive oral history and archival research on the legacy of a beloved high school in New Orleans and its fate in the context of charter school reform. There Is No Excuse: Charter School Autonomy and the Abuse of Black Youth in a Zero-Tolerance Climate is based on student-parent-teacher testimony and documentary research regarding civil rights concerns in New Orleans’ zero-tolerance charter schools.
Buras, K. L. (2015). Charter schools, race, and urban space: Where the market meets grassroots resistance. New York: Routledge.
Buras, K. L., Randels, J., Salaam, K. Y., & Students at the Center. (2010). Pedagogy, policy, and the privatized city: Stories of dispossession and defiance from New Orleans. New York: Teachers College Press.
Buras, K. L. (2008). Rightist multiculturalism: Core lessons on neoconservative school reform. New York: Routledge.
Apple, M. W., & Buras, K. L. (Eds.). (2006). The subaltern speak: Curriculum, power, and educational struggles. New York: Routledge.