Allison Roda

  • Why I Love Teaching at Molloy College

    I love the small class sizes, and opportunities for personalized learning and innovative teaching.  The liberal arts curriculum and social justice mission of the college fits well with my educational philosophy and research agenda that seeks to examine ways to create a more equal, just, and diverse educational system.

  • Academic Interests

    Allison Roda's academic interests include school integration, parents and schools, tracking, qualitative research, and urban education policy.  Her work has appeared in a variety of academic journals and popular media outlets including the Review of Research in Education, American Journal of Education, Journal of Education Policy, The New York Times, The Century Foundation, Quartz, and The Hechinger Report.  Dr. Roda's book on gifted and talented admissions policies in New York City, Inequality in Gifted and Talented Programs:  Parental Choices About Status, School Opportunity, and Second-Generation Segregation (Palgrave Macmillan, October 2015) examines parental attitudes about school choice with an emphasis on gifted and talented programs, tracking, and segregation.

    Allison Roda is co-principal investigator (with Paul Tractenberg and Ryan Coughlan) on the Morris Project-a historical case study of the 1971 Jenkins case in Morristown, NJ that explores the history, evolution, current status and long term effects of the Morris School District merger for racial balance purposes. She is co-editor and contributing author with Molly Makris and Ryan Coughlan for the forthcoming 2018 special issue journal, "Tensions Between Choice and Neighborhood Schools:  The Changing Landscape of Cities and Parental School Choice" (Peabody Journal of Education), co-author with Amy Stuart Wells on a chapter in the Review of Research in Education journal, "The Impact of Political Context on the Questions Asked and Answered: The Evolution of Educational Research on Racial Inequality" (2016), and author of a forthcoming Teachers College Record article, "Parenting in the Age of High Stakes Testing:  Gifted and Talented Admissions and the Meaning of Parenthood" (2017). 

  • What I am working on

    My current research examines how advantaged parents residing in a diverse neighborhood in New York City attempt to mobilize other parents (like them) to choose their local public school, and what influence this may have on school principals' in the community school district in which they reside.  Faced with constrained school choice options such as segregated charters and gifted and talented programs, this pro-neighborhood school parent advocacy group is going against the norm to opt into their diverse local schools, while other parents opt out by choosing more segregated options.

  • Educational Philosophy

    I believe in a child-centered approach to teaching and learning that emphasizes and integrates the arts, music and physical education into the core subjects.  There is no one-size-fits-all philosophy.  Teachers are able to structure activities to bring together diverse learners, facilitate critical thinking, and engage students in the learning process.

  • Educational Background

    Dr. Roda earned a Ph.D. and M.Phil. in Sociology and Education from Teachers College at Columbia University and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Penn State University. Prior to earning her doctorate, Dr. Roda worked as a teacher in Seattle, Washington and Helena, Montana.  She was also a graduate research associate at the Center for Understanding Race and Education at Teachers College on a large scale mixed methods study on Long Island examining the relationship among metro migrations, school district boundaries and students' opportunities to learn.

  • Publications/Presentations


    • Tractenberg, P., Roda, A., Coughlan, R., & Dougherty, D. (In Process). A new promise of true school integration: Lessons from one community's journey. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
    • Coughlan, R., Makris, M., & Roda, A. (Eds.). (2018). Tensions between choice and neighborhood schools: The changing landscape of cities and parental school choice. Peabody Journal of Education. 
    • Roda, A. (2018). School choice and the politics of parenthood: Exploring parent mobilization as a catalyst for the common good. Peabody Journal of Education. DOI: 10.1080/0161956X.2018.1488400
    • Sattin-Bajaj, C., & Roda, A. (2018). Opportunity hoarding in school choice contexts: The role of policy design in promoting middle class parents' exclusionary behaviors. Educational Policy


    • Roda, A. (2017). Parenting in the age of high stakes testing: Gifted and talented admissions and the meaning of parenthood. Teachers College Record, 119(8), 1-53.
    • Roda, A. (In Press). Parenting in the Age of High Stakes Testing: Gifted and Talented Admissions and the Meaning of Parenthood. Teachers College Record.


    • Wells, A.S. & Roda, A. (2016 Centennial Volume). "The Impact of Political Context on the Questions Asked and Answered: The Evolution of Educational Research on Racial Inequality." Review of Research in Education, 40 (1,) 62-93.
    • Roda, A. (Available Online, 2016). 'More [Time] is Better' or 'Less is More?' Neoliberal Influences on Extended Learning Time. Journal of Education Policy.
    • Tractenberg, P.; Roda, A.; & Coughlan, R. (2016) "Remedying School Segregation: How the Morris School District Chose to Make Diversity Work." New York, NY: The Century Foundation.


    • Roda, A. (2015). Inequality in Gifted and Talented Programs: Parental Choices about Status, School Opportunity, and Second-Generation SegregationNew York, NY:  Palgrave Macmillan.


    • Wells, A.S.; Ready, D.; Fox, L.; Warner, M.; Roda, A.; Spence, T.; Williams, E.; and Wright, A. (2014). "Divided We Fall: The Story of Separate and Unequal Suburban Schools 60 Years after Brown v. Board of Education." New York, NY:  The Center for Understanding Race and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University.


    • Roda, A. & Wells, A. S. (2013). School Choice Policies and Racial Segregation: Where White Parents' Good Intentions, Anxiety, and Privilege Collide. American  Journal of Education, 119 (2), 261-293.