On November 17, the Globalization and Education SIG hosted a webinar on educational privatization. The event was moderated by D. Brent Edwards Jr. and brought together three speakers: Christopher Lubienski (University of Illinois), Frank Adamson (Stanford University) and Tamasin Cave (SpinWatch). The hour-long webinar can be viewed here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1-QEtL6iA0

In many Caribbean countries, students are taught to be so-called “ideal Caribbean persons.” This phenomenon is of interest to some educational researchers because this discourse defines a Caribbean person instead of, say, a Jamaican person or a Haitian person. What this suggests is that a regional social imaginary has usurped the long held need by state governments to cultivate a national imaginary through public schools.

So why has there been an increasing emphasis on regional level collaboration and reform initiatives in education that have resulted in or attempt to build regional social imaginaries?
My guest today, Dr. Tavis Jules, an Assistant Professor of Cultural and Educational Policy Studies at Loyola University Chicago, argues that the the rise of the Caribbean educational policy space was driven by various regulations constructed by supranational organizations and institutions and then implemented at the national level. He studied this convergence by comparing the discourse in policy documents at the regional and national level.

Tavis’ most recent book, Neither world polity nor local or national societies: Regionalization in the Global South – the Caribbean Communitywas published by Peter Lang Press in 2012. Tavis speaks on FreshEd about his latest article on the Caribbean Educational Policy Space, which was published in the November issue of the Comparative Education Review.

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.