Professor, Educational Psychology, Early Childhood Education, and Educational Studies Programs
Interests and Expertise
Poverty, inequality, and social policy and their impacts on children and families in both the United States and cross-national contexts; Educational Equity and Democratic Schooling; Qualitative Research.
Courses taught include doctoral level Qualitative Methods I and II and Children and Families in Poverty; Masters level Qualitative/Interpretive Research; and undergraduate Diverse Children, Families and Communities with a focus on children in peril.
My scholarship is dedicated to advocacy on behalf of women and children in poverty, and in my writings I have attempted to document the lived realities of those who have been shut out— from early childhood education, from K-12 education, and from post-secondary education; and to give voice to those whose rights have been violated by poverty, race and gender discrimination. My work encompasses the impact of public policies on education, welfare, homelessness, children's rights, and access to child care and post-secondary education in national and international contexts.
Polakow, V. (2007). Who cares for our children? The child care crisis in the other America. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Polakow, V., Butler, S., Deprez, L., & Kahn, P. (Eds.). (2004). Shut out: Low income mothers and higher education in post-welfare America. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
Polakow, V., Halskov, T., & Jørgensen, P.J. (2001). Diminished rights: Danish lone mother families in international context. Bristol, UK: The Policy Press.
Polakow, V., & Guillean, C. (Eds.). (2001). International perspectives on homelessness. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Polakow, V. (Ed).(2000). The public assault on America's children: Poverty, violence, and juvenile injustice. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Halskov, T., Jørgensen, P.J., & Polakow, V.(2000). Tab af rettigheder. Copenhagen, Denmark: Hans Reitzels Publishers.
Polakow, V. (1993). Lives on the edge: Single mothers and their children in the other America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Polakow, V. (1982). The erosion of childhood. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Recent Book Chapters/Articles
Polakow, V., Robinson, K., & Wilson, C. (2015). Child Homelessness. In H . Montgomery (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies in Childhood Studies. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Polakow, V. (2014). None for you: Children’s capabilities and rights in profoundly unequal times. In M. Bloch, B. B. Swadener and G. Cannella (Eds.), Reconceptualizing early education and care: Critical questions, new imaginaries and social activism (pp.265-279). New York, NY: Peter Lang.
Polakow, V., & Xu, H. (2013). Homeless children in the United States: Dispossession and rights foreclosed. In J. Hall (Ed.), Children's human rights and public schooling in the United States. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers
Polakow, V. (2013). Poverty, postsecondary education, and child care: The impact of "Work First" policies on African American single mothers in Michigan. In E.M. Zamani-Gallaher & V.C. Polite (Eds.), African American females: Addressing challenges and nurturing the future. Lansing, MI: Michigan University Press.
Baiyee, M., Hawkins, C., & Polakow, V. (2013).Children's rights and educational exclusion: The impact of zero tolerance in schools. In B. B. Swadener, L. Lundy, J. Habashi & N. Blanchet-Cohen (Eds.), Children's lives and education in cross-national contexts: What difference could rights make? New York, NY: Peter Lang.
Polakow, V., & Owiti, S. (2013). Child poverty, rights, and well-being In H. Montgomery (Ed.), Oxford bibliographies in childhood studies. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Polakow, V. (2012). Foreclosed childhoods: Poverty, inequality, and discarding the young. In B. Falk (Ed.), Defending childhood: Keeping the promise of early education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Professional Memberships and Affiliations
Licensures and Certifications
- 1994: Kappa Delta Pi Book of the Year Award (for Lives on the Edge)
- 1995/1996: Fulbright Scholar, Denmark
- 2001: Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Scholarship Award, Eastern Michigan University
- 2010: Distinguished Contributions to Gender Equity in Education Research Award, American Educational Research Association
- 2013: Graduate Mentor Award, Eastern Michigan University
- 2015: Critical Perspectives in Early Childhood Education Distinguished Career Award, American Educational Research Association