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NEPC’s January Education Interview of the Month Podcast Features Discussion of How School Privatization Leads to Discrimination

BOULDER, CO (January 22, 2019) – In this month’s NEPC Education Interview of the Month, Lewis and Clark College Emeritus Professor of Education Gregory A. Smith speaks with Dr. Suzanne Eckes of Indiana University and Dr. Julie Mead of the University of Wisconsin Madison. 

Eckes and Mead authored a recent NEPC policy brief about the ways school vouchers and charter schools have opened the door to discriminatory practices. These practices are at odds with federal laws and the protections they offer diverse students. They argue that policymakers and legislators need to consider this potential discrimination as they experiment with applying market principles to schools. Without explicit legislative oversight, they explain, there is a risk of perpetuating inequities that run counter to the ideal of equal education for all.

Eckes and Mead make four recommendations to policymakers for crafting policies appropriate to changes in the educational landscape that have taken place over past three decades: 

  1. Congress should amend anti-discrimination laws to clarify that they apply to charter and private schools that participate in voucher, tax credit, or education savings account programs;
  2. Federal agencies should withhold governmental benefits from private schools that don’t meet nondiscrimination standards; 
  3. State legislatures should make explicit in charter school and voucher statutes that any school that participates in the program must promise not to discriminate on any basis; and
  4. State legislatures should amend charter school laws to ensure that they examine issues of exclusion throughout the entire process from proposal to renewal provisions, to ensure they are attracting and retaining reasonably diverse student populations.

A new NEPC Education Interview of the Month, hosted by Gregory A. Smith, will be released each month from September through May.  

Don’t worry if you miss a month. All NEPC Education Interview of the Month podcasts are archived on the NEPC website and can be found here

Coming Next Month

In February, Greg’s guests will be Kevin Welner and Chris Saldaña, who will discuss the emergence of a new form of marketing that involves the recruitment of teachers as brand ambassadors capable of influencing their students’ consumer choices and their colleagues' use of educational technologies.

Stay tuned in to NEPC for smart, engaging conversations about education policy.

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: