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Reva Jaffe-Walter

Associate Professor, Educational Foundations

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Reva Jaffe-Walter is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Research Faculty serving in the Teacher Education and Development Ph.D program. Using the lenses of educational anthropology, Jaffe-Walter's scholarship focuses on how public schools can foster opportunity for immigrant youth. Through comparative international ethnographic research in schools serving immigrant youth in Europe and the United States, she explores questions related to how schools provide access to educational resources, promote feelings of belonging or marginalization, and support post-secondary transitions. Engaging the anthropology of policy, her research has focused on how nationalist and neoliberal policies materialize and are resisted by school leaders, teachers and youth in schools serving immigrant youth.

Given that immigrant youth are often spoken ‘about’, as subjects of national concern or hope, her work seeks to amplify youth voices to better understand their transnational forms of belonging, critical counter narratives to racialization, and visions of what it means to be human in an increasingly dehumanizing context. Finally, her scholarship is focused on developing qualitative methodologies that deepen our understanding of young peoples lived experiences of racialization and educational desire.

Her work has been published in journals such as Teachers College Record, The Harvard Educational Review and Race, Ethnicity and Education. Her book Coercive Concern: Nationalism, Liberalism and the Schooling of Muslim Youth was published in 2016 with Stanford University Press.


Immigration and Schooling
Anthropology of Policy
Qualitative Research Methods, Ethnography, Action Research


Research Projects

William T. Grant Foundation. “Reducing educational inequities experienced by immigrant youth: An examination of high school strategies and support systems.” (with Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng, Pedro Noguera, and Adriana Villavicencio

This study will advance prior work on International Network schools and offer valuable lessons both to them and other schools serving immigrant youth. The team will use a three stage, mixed-methods design. First, the team will draw on Research Alliance administrative data to analyze the influence of attending a New York City International Network school on students’ grade point average, standardized test scores, credits earned, attendance, special education classification, and high-school graduation. These outcomes will be compared with those of demographically similar students at other NYC public schools, using propensity score matching methods. Second, the team will conduct two-year case studies of two International Network schools that have the highest outcomes and two high schools serving similar students. The focus will be instructional practices, school culture, and professional practices. Third, the team will draw on large-scale quantitative data to analyze links between the promising practices identified in the case studies and foreign-born high school students’ academic outcomes.