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How Have Market Forces Shaped Public Education, and Can Public Education Survive?


A Book Talk and Panel Discussion About “Education and the Commercial Mindset,” by Samuel Abrams

America’s commitment to public schooling once seemed unshakable. But today the movement to privatize K-12 education is stronger than ever. On Monday, May 2, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Milbank Chapel, TC will hold a talk and panel discussion about a new book, Education and the Commercial Mindset (Harvard University Press, 2016), by Samuel Abrams, director of TC’s National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education. The book examines the rise of market forces in public education and reveals how a commercial mindset has taken over in public schools across the nation.

After an introduction by Henry M. Levin, professor of economics and education, Abrams will trace the rise in the 1990s of for-profit educational management organizations (EMOs) like Edison Schools and their demise a decade later; the evolution in their wake of nonprofit charter management organizations (CMOs) such as Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP; the influence of free-market ideas on federal education policy; and, for international perspective, the divergent paths of Sweden, home to much educational privatization, and Finland, home to none.

Abrams will be followed by a panel discussion including Carol Burris (EdD '03), executive director, Network for Public Education; Sharif El-Mekki, principal, Mastery Charter Schools, Shoemaker Campus, Philadelphia; LynNell Hancock,professor of journalism, Columbia Journalism School; and Jeffrey R. Henig, professor of political science and education and chair of TC’s Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis.

Abrams and the panelists will discuss how market forces have shaped public schools in the United States, and whether public education can survive. This free event is sponsored by the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education.

Published Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016

Samuel Abrams

Samuel Abrams

Samuel Abrams