Matthew Gardner Kelly

Matthew Gardner Kelly

Hello. I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education Policy Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. My research examines the intersections between school funding policies and inequities of race, income, and residence in the United States.

My work is broadly concerned with how inequities in education are created, codified into law, and normalized in public discourse over time. My first book, Dividing the Public: School Finance and the Creation of Structural Inequity, provides a history of racial and economic disparities in school funding. It shows how school funding polices helped create the racially segregated, economically divided, and politically fragmented world we live in today.

My research has been recognized by the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation (2021 Postdoctoral Fellowship), National Education Finance Academy (2021 Distinguished Research & Practice Fellow Award), International Association for Society and Natural Resources (2021 Rabel J. Burdge & Donald R. Field Outstanding Article Award), History of Education Society (2018 History of Education Society Prize) and Division F of the American Educational Research Association (2015 Graduate Student Paper Award).

I received my M.A. (history) and Ph.D. (history of education and educational policy) from Stanford University in 2018. Before graduate school, I was a middle school math teacher in New York City.

Selected Publications

Misrepresented Funding Gaps in Data for Some States

A Map Is More Than Just a Graph: Geospatial Educational Research and the Importance of Historical Context

How to Reform Without Reforming: School District Racial Composition and Pennsylvania’s “Fair” Funding Formula

The Curious Case of the Missing Tail: Trends Among the Top 1% of School Districts in the United States, 2000–2015

Contact Me

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Matthew Gardner Kelly