Hidden Markets: Global Patterns in the Privatization of Education?

global-e: a global studies journal

Patricia Burch
Professor, Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Both in the U.S. and abroad, there exists a political movement in support of education reforms based on the logic of the market that assumes that business strategies can and should transfer to education. The rise of the private provision of public education services reflects such marketplace values as outsourcing, limited government regulation, competition and choice. It also incorporates elements of government contracting and vouchers. [1]

As I argue in Hidden Markets, The New Education Privatization, these developments deserve close attention by those who want schooling that is equitable, responsible and effective. [2] The book focuses on the manifestation of the phenomenon in K-12 education in the United States although the trends are global and overlap with pre-school education and higher education. As noted below, several of the largest firms in the industry are multi-national; companies are marketing product lines…

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