Elizabeth DeBray studies the politics of federal education policy, policy implementation, and interest group politics/policy networks. With the support of the William T. Grant Foundation, she has been studying the role of intermediary organizations in disseminating research and information to policymakers about incentivist K-12 educational policies in urban districts (with Christopher Lubienski and Janelle Scott). She is the author of Politics, Ideology, and Education: Federal Policy during the Clinton and Bush administrations (Teachers College Press, 2006); and co-editor (with Erica Frankenberg) of Integrating schools in a changing society: New policies and legal options for a multiracial generation (University of North Carolina Press, 2011).

Dr. DeBray has studied the politics of districts’ policies to support racially balanced schools. Since 2017, she has been a member of a team of 5 researchers, supported by the Spencer Foundation, studying the politics of race-conscious education policies across the Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations. DeBray was the recipient of a 2018-19 Spencer Mid-Career grant to study the linkages between housing policy and K-12 education in Atlanta and at the federal level, and is currently studying Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing and its connections to education. She serves on the Poverty and Race Research Action Council’s research advisory committee on housing and education policy. She received her Ed.D. in 2001 from Harvard University.

Areas of Expertise

  • federal education policymaking
  • national interest group politics
  • use of research evidence in K12 education


  • school district assignment policies
  • civil rights policy implementation
  • housing and education policy intersections



  •  B.A. in Russian Studies/Economics, 1991
    Wellesley College
  •  Ed.M. in Teaching and Curriculum, 1992
    Harvard University
  •  Ed.D. in Administration, Planning and Social Policy, 2001
    Harvard University


 706-542-2214 (office)

Awards and Accolades

Postdoctoral Fellow

National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation

Midcareer Fellow

Spencer Foundation