Equity International Privatization Research

Stanford Research: Investing in Public Schools Is More Effective Than Privatization

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This is a project that should interest all readers of the blog as well as state and local school boards and elected officials at every level. It includes a book that reviews education issues around the globe and resources that you may access by clicking the link. The bottom line of a vast amount of research is that privatization is a failed policy, not an innovation. The most effective way to invest public dollars is in improving public schools.


Stanford Graduate School of Education Research Center Introduces Cross-National Study Central to Debates about Future of the U.S. Education System

Contact: Ralph Rogers
Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education
[email protected]


Stanford, CA – December 13, 2016 – In the midst of the ongoing debate and a potential shift in the U.S. approach to education, the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) is pleased to introduce new research-based evidence and analysis that supports investment in public schools as a better alternative than the privatization of education.

“This book shows how public investment in education outperforms privatization across three continents, addressing this critical question as President-elect Trump’s appointee, Betsy DeVos, considers shifting U.S. education to a voucher scheme,” said Frank Adamson, PhD, the primary editor, chapter author, and Senior Policy and Research Analyst at SCOPE. “This book offers reasoned evidence to policymakers, communities, and families about how investing in public schools produces better and more equitable outcomes than voucher programs.”

SCOPE’s work addresses the question of how results from public investment approaches compare with those from market-based reforms and provides a timely explanation of alternatives based on real evidence derived from policy analysis and actual outcomes in six different countries. In this project, SCOPE has designed and implemented a set of accessible information resources designed to inform the different constituencies involved in this important debate.

The book, Global Education Reform: How Privatization and Public Investment Influence Education Outcomes, with a set of supporting infographics, videos, and research briefs, provides hard evidence supporting investment in pubic schools. Researchers thoroughly investigated the results of experiments with education in Chile, Sweden, and the U.S. and compared their educational outcomes with those of nearby countries with similar economic and social conditions: Cuba, Finland, and Canada (Ontario). At the national levels in Sweden, the U.S., and Chile, market, charter, or voucher systems are associated with greater disparities and lower student outcomes on international tests.


SCOPE’s project combined in-depth analysis of the different ends of an ideological spectrum – from market-based experiments to strong state investments in public education. Written by education researchers, including Linda Darling-Hammond, Michael Fullan, Pasi Sahlberg, Martin Carnoy, and others, the authors present long-term policy analyses based on primary and secondary research on the implementation and results of these different approaches.
To best support an open debate on the issue of school reform, SCOPE has created the following set of free information resources:

Privatization or Public Investment in Education is a free SCOPE research and policy brief summarizing the findings in the book.
Six Countries. Two Educational Strategies. One Consistent Conclusion is a free infographic presenting an accessible and concise summary of the differences in approaches and outcomes – privatization versus public investment in education.
Our Kids, Our Future: Privatization and Public Investment in Education, a 3-minute video providing an overview of the differences between experimental privatization models and public investment in equitable education systems.
How Privatization and Public Investment Influence Education: A Look at the Research, a more detailed 12-minute video explaining the differences between experimental privatization models and public investment in equitable education systems.
Educational Inequities in the New Orleans Charter School System is a free infographic from SCOPE and the Schott Foundation that explains the impact on students and schools of New Orleans becoming a predominantly charter district after Hurricane Katrina.


The Editors
Frank Adamson, PhD, is a Senior Policy and Research Analyst at the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.
Björn Åstrand, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer and Dean at Karlstad University in Sweden.
Linda Darling-Hammond, EdD, is the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University, the author of over 300 publications, and a former president of the American Educational Research Association.
The Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) fosters research, policy, and practice to advance high-quality, equitable education systems in the United States and internationally.

These resources can be downloaded or viewed at the SCOPE Global Education Reform web page.

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