In many parts of the world, students commonly attend and pay for private tutoring classes. Sometimes these extra classes are for remedial purposes, giving students additional help on content covered in mainstream school. Other times students use private tutoring to prepare for school examinations.

The phenomenon of private tutoring is diverse around the world, and researchers commonly use the term “Shadow Education” to describe it. Tutoring is considered a shadow because it often mimics the curriculum of regular schooling – as the content of the curriculum changes in regular schooling, so it changes in the shadow; and as the regular school system expands or contracts, so does the shadow system

On today’s show, Will Brehm speaks with Mark Bray,  UNESCO Chair Professor in Comparative Education at the University of Hong Kong, and Director of its Comparative Education Research Centre. He is also President-Elect of the US-based Comparative & International Education Society (CIES). He moved to Hong Kong in1986, but from 2006 to 2010 took leave to work in Paris as Director of UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning.

CERC 32.Researching PST.coverProfessor Bray has written extensively on shadow education. His latest book, co-edited with Ora Kwo and Boris Jokić, is entitled Researching private supplementary tutoring: methodological lessons from diverse cultures.

Mark Bray speaks about researching shadow education and then turns to the annual conference of CIES, which he is currently planning.

Lobbyists are paid to influence government officials. They often operate behind closed doors, hidden from public view. In the education sector, for-profit companies rely on the work of lobbyists to promote commercial interests in public policy, from privately operated public schools to the use of education technology inside classrooms.

Our guest in this episode, author, lobbyist, and activist, Tamasin Cave, shines a light on commercial lobbyists in Britain’s education sector. A director of SpinWatch and leader of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency, Cave talks about her book, co-authored with Andy Rowell, entitled: A Quiet Word: Lobbying, Crony Capitalism and Broken Politics in Britain, which was published in 2014 by Random House.

Cave reveals the techniques used by successful lobbyists and discusses the revolving door among government officials, commercial lobbyists, and media elite. She calls for transparency in lobbying and reveals how she thinks like a lobbyist.

How did vouchers and charter schools become key elements in the education reform agenda in the United States?

My guest today, Professor of Education Policy at the University of Illinois, Chris Lubienski, speaks about the rise of policy orchestration among a network of private and non-profit actors and what this means for democratic decision making.

His research shows how Philanthropic Foundations, such as the Gates and Walton Family Foundations, and think tanks, such as the Brookings Institute and RAND corporation, have come to promote a common agenda that has helped propel vouchers and charters into the national spotlight.

Professor Lubienski explores the changing structures of educational policy making in the United States, and argues that the contracting out of policy making to actors such as Gates, Brookings, and RAND has resulted in the privatization of public policy making.

You can follow Prof. Lubienski on twitter: @Club_edu and read his article on policy orchestration.

Citation: Lubienski, Chris, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 2, podcast audio, July 20, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/chrislubienski/

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In our inaugural showFrank Adamson, Senior Policy and Research Analyst at the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, discusses his new book, Global Educational Reform: How Privatization and Public Investment influence Education Outcomes (Routledge, 2016), which he co-edited with Bjorn Astrand and Linda Darling-Hammond.

Frank's new book cover

Global Educational Reform offers a comparative look at the education policies and outcomes in six countries – Chile, Cube, Sweden, Finland, Canada, and the United States.  Frank and his co-editors selected these countries because collectively they span a range of education policy approaches – from neoliberal approaches that emphasize school vouchers to social democratic approaches that emphasize government’s responsibility for education.