Dr. Maia Cucchiara's research interests fall into three often-overlapping categories. First, she is interested in urban education policy, particularly in the intersections between policy assumptions and discourses, issues of race and class, and people’s lived experiences. Second, she studies family-school relations, with a focus on how class shapes parents’ experiences with urban schools and their children’s education more broadly. Third, she is interested in the impact of urban development and revitalization on public education and the implications for disadvantaged students. Dr. Cucchiara is the author of Marketing Schools, Marketing Cities: Who Wins and Who Loses When Schools Become Urban Amenities (University of Chicago Press, 2013). Her current project, an ethnographic study of low-income mothers’ experiences with parenting education, is funded by a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation.

Courses Taught




EDUC 2103

Socio-cultural Foundations of Education in the United States


URBE 5417

The Urban Environment


COED 3386

Diamond Peer Teachers - Internship II


Selected Publications


  • Cucchiara, M., Cassar, E., & Clark, M. (2019). ‘‘I Just Need a Job!’’ Behavioral Solutions, Structural Problems, and the Hidden Curriculum of Parenting Education. Sociology of Education, 92(4), pp. 326-345. doi: 10.1177/0038040719861363

  • Cucchiara, M. (2019). Middle-class engagement in urban public education: Implications for family-school partnerships. In The Wiley Handbook of Family, School, and Community Relationships in Education (pp. 575-595). doi: 10.1002/9781119083054.ch27

  • Woyshner, C. & Cucchiara, M. (2017). Can parent-teacher groups work for all students? Educational Leadership, 75(1), pp. 64-69.

  • Posey-Maddox, L., Kimelberg, S., & Cucchiara, M. (2016). Seeking a ‘critical mass’: middle-class parents’ collective engagement in city public schooling. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37(7), pp. 905-927. doi: 10.1080/01425692.2014.986564

  • Cucchiara, M. (2016). The Unacknowledged Disaster: Youth Poverty and Educational Failure in America. CONTEMPORARY SOCIOLOGY-A JOURNAL of REVIEWS, 45(5), pp. 580-582. doi: 10.1177/0094306116664524e

  • Cucchiara, M. (2016). Enter the Alternative School: Critical Answers to Questions in Urban Education. CONTEMPORARY SOCIOLOGY-A JOURNAL of REVIEWS, 45(4), pp. 508-510. doi: 10.1177/0094306116653953hhh

  • Cucchiara, M. (2016). Thinking Locally: Attending to Social Context in Studies of Marketing and Public Education. Peabody Journal of Education, 91(1), pp. 121-130. doi: 10.1080/0161956X.2016.1119595

  • Cucchiara, M.B. & Lareau, A. (2016). Proceed with caution: Replication and ethnographic research.”. Sociology of Education Newsletter(Winter), pp. 4-5.