Patricia Burch

Associate Professor of Education, University of Southern California
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About Patricia

Patricia Burch specializes in the study of out-of-school time organizational structures, digital learning structures, private contracting in public and community education spaces, and education policy. From 2003 to 2009, she was assistant professor of education policy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and later served as principal investigator for the Multi-Site Study of the Implementation and Impact of Supplemental Educational Services. Burch is a fellow at the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder.


Schools are Racing to Adopt Digital Tools without Solid Evidence That They Boost Student Achievement

  • Annalee Good
  • Carolyn J. Heinrich
  • Chandi Wagner

In the News

Opinion: "Access Issues for Students Go Beyond Online Content, Extending to Housing and Food," Patricia Burch, The Hechinger Report, March 31, 2020.
Quoted by Arianna Prothero in "Charter Expansion Plan Stokes Debate in LA," Education Week, October 6, 2015.
Quoted by Michele Molnar in "Tutoring Firms Hit Hard by NCLB Waivers," Education Week, August 21, 2014.
Quoted by Rachel Baye in "Education Groups Battle Teachers Unions in State Races," The Center for Public Integrity, March 7, 2014.
Quoted by Annie Gilbertson in "LA Schools and iPads: Big Promises but Where’s the Research?," KPCC Southern California Public Radio, October 9, 2013.


"Mixed Methods Research for Policy and Program Evaluation: Thousand Oaks" (with Carolyn J. Heinrich) (SAGE Publications, forthcoming).
Provides a step-by-step guide to fully integrating qualitative and quantitative analysis in ways that strengthen relevance of policy research and its use by policymakers.
"Equal Scrutiny: Privatization and Accountability in Digital Education " (with Annalee Good) (Harvard Education Press, 2014).
Argues that in the rush to adopt and expand digital learning, many considerations are being overlooked that will have major consequences for the future of American public education.
"Improving the Implementation and Effectiveness of Out-of-School-Time Tutoring: A Longitudinal Multisite, Mixed-Method Investigation" (with Carolyn J. Heinrich, Annalee Good, Rudy Acosta, Huiping Cheng, Marcus Dillender, Christi Kirshbaum, Hiren Nasar, and Mary Stewart). Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 3, no. 2 (2014): 471-494.

Examines the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program. Studies the impact of out-of-school time (OST) tutoring on student reading and mathematics achievement that link provider attributes and policy and program administration variables to tutoring program effectiveness. Argues that many students are not getting enough hours of high-quality, differentiated instruction to produce significant gains in their learning, in part because of high hourly rates charged by providers for tutoring. Identifies strategies and policy levers that school districts can use to improve OST tutoring policy design and launch improved programs as waivers from NCLB are granted.

"Hidden Markets: The New Education Privatization " (Routledge Press, 2009).
Argues that the education industry has assumed a central place in the day-to-day governance and administration of public schools—a trend that has gone largely unnoticed by policymakers or the press until now. Examines specific domains that the education industry has had particular influence on—home schooling, remedial instruction, management consulting, test development, data management, and staff development.
"Educational Policy and Practice from the Perspective of Institutional Theory: Crafting a Wider Lens" Educational Researcher 36, no. 2 (2007): 84-95.
Provides a framework that integrates recent institutional theorizing to guide scholarship on issues in K–12 public education in the United States. Argues that although concepts such as “loose coupling” have been widely used, education researchers have not fully tapped institutional theories that have emerged more recently. Introduces three interrelated constructs and applies them to a case study of district reading and mathematics reform. Considers how current developments in the governance of public schooling increase the utility of institutional perspectives and identify critical issues that need to be addressed in future work.