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Dr. Maryellen Schaub

Dr. Maryellen Schaub
Phone: 8148630854
Office Address:
302C Rackley Building
University Park, PA 16802
Campus: University Park


Associate Professor of Education (Educational Theory & Policy)
Professor-in-Charge, Education and Public Policy


Education Policy Studies


Education and Public Policy
Educational Theory and Policy
Comparative and International Education


Have you ever wondered how our romantic notions of childhood as a curious, free developmental stage can coexist with our growing requirements for school attendance and success for young children?  As a sociologist of education, I am interested in how social institutions intertwine and overlap in modern society; in particular, I am interested in family and schooling.  My current research looks at the social constructions of parenting and childhood.  Our ideas about childhood have changed significantly since 1950, part of this change includes the increased importance placed on schooling because educational attainment is now the main vehicle to adult opportunities.  This has resulted in significant changes to the parenting role and even the earliest developmental stages. 

My research includes several US and comparative areas such as the intensification of cognitive demands on young children, the cultural significance of education, and the expansion of child rights world-wide.   My latest project is on the expansion of early childhood education.  In the US, the proportion of children attending both kindergarten and preschool has steadily risen since the middle of the 20th century and now some states are offering universal preK.  But what prompts this expansion of education and is a universal program the most effective and efficient use of our tax dollars?  Or are targeted programs to low income children the best way to create equality of educational opportunity?

Areas of Expertise

Age Levels

Early Childhood

Educational Studies

Comparative Ed
Educational Theory

Methodological Research

Qualitative Research
Quantitative Research

Representative Publications

Schaub, M., Salinas, D., Halabi, S., and  Baker, D.  Under Review.  “The Changing Faces of the Math Student: Images in U.S. Early Elementary Mathematics Textbooks, 1904-1999”

Schaub, M., Henck, A., and Baker, D.  2017.  “The Triumph of the “Whole Child”: Cultural Understandings of Children and Childhood in Multilateral Aid Development Policy, 1946-2010”  Comparative Education Review.

Schaub, Maryellen.  2016.  “The Transformation of the Child’s Garden:  Institutional strength and downward expansion over the 20th century.”  American Journal of Education.

Schaub, Maryellen.   2013.  “Is there an early childhood Home Advantage:  trends in parent engagement in cognitive activities with young children.”  Journal of Early Childhood Research.

Schaub, M. and Baker, D.  2013.  “Conservative Ideologies and the World Educational Culture:  A Comparison of German and American Old-Order Amish Education.”  Comparative Cultural Qualitative Research.  Sandra Rademacher and Merle Hummrich (eds.)

Schaub, Maryellen.  2010.  Parenting Cognitive Development: The Institutional Effects of Mass Education on the Social Construction of Childhood and Parenting. Sociology of Education