Bruce Fuller

professor of education and public policy

Working inside policy organizations and the academy over the past three decades, Bruce Fuller has asked how public action best strengthens families and schools. He helped to design policy reforms for a free-thinking California governor, and advised opposition leaders on education reform as democracy emerged in southern Africa. Fuller has studied childcare programs arising at the grassroots or state-run in Latin America. A fundamental question continues to motivate this array of research and writings: How can central governments enrich families and schools when situated in colorfully pluralistic societies? In short, what happens when government confronts culture? Trained in political sociology, Fuller's recent projects center on small-scale organizations that sprout across diverse communities, such as charter schools and preschools, which often spread in response to the clumsy or gray character of central states. Yet, decentralized institutions can disempower central governments, a worrisome scenario for those concerned with equity. Professor Fuller's current research delves into how young children are socialized in diverse Mexican-American homes, and what neighborhood organizations effectively advance their development. His recent book, Standardized Childhood: The Political and Cultural Struggle over Early Education, examines how elite reformers often push for state incorporation of community programs, even eroding the authority and resources spread across diverse ethnic leaders. Fuller also looks into fields that have become hyper-centralized, exemplified by his critical work on No Child Left Behind. A college dropout, he eventually received his Ph.D. from Stanford University. Before coming to Berkeley, Fuller was a research sociologist at the World Bank and taught at Harvard's School of Education. His new book, Organizing Locally, is forthcoming from University of Chicago Press.