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NEPC’s May Education Interview of the Month: The Privatization of Public Education in the US and International Contexts

BOULDER, CO (May 19, 2020) – In this month’s NEPC Education Interview of the Month, NEPC Researcher Christopher Saldaña interviews Frank Adamson, Assistant Professor of Education Leadership and Policy Studies at California State University, Sacramento. Adamson is an expert in education privatization in the United States and international contexts and the editor of Global Education Reform: How Privatization and Public Investment Influence Education Outcomes.

Adamson argues that the foundation for privatizing schools has been laid over many decades through federal policies such as No Child Left Behind. He points out that with this foundation in place, crises have been used to promote privatization in cities such as Oakland and New Orleans, just as the COVID-19 pandemic is now being used to promote the use of virtual education and private digital platforms in public schools.  

He notes that alternatives to privatization exist. The Abidjan Principles, developed by experts in law, human rights, and education, for example, outline the responsibility of countries to provide high-quality, free public education to all children. According to Adamson, if policymakers were guided by these principles, they could craft policies that fostered a more equitable educational system in the United States and other international contexts.

It is important, Adamson argues, that community members inform themselves and engage in educational policy discussions in their communities, especially because the decentralized system of public education in the United States requires an engaged and informed public to ensure that students receive the best possible public education.

A new NEPC Education Interview of the Month, hosted by NEPC Researcher Christopher Saldaña, will be released each month from September through June. 

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 June, Chris will interview Diane Ravitch, an education historian at New York University and the co-founder of the Network for Public Education (NPE). Dr. Ravitch is the author of a new book entitled Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America's Public Schools.

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: