Ideology at work: The politics of school choice research

Ever wonder why a lion’s share of positive (non-peer reviewed) findings about school choice come from certain places? We take on that question in our new piece published in the 2nd edition of the Handbook of Research on School Choice. To conceptualize the politics of research on school choice, it is important to discuss the politics of market-based approaches within the broader purview of public policy. Modern notions of “markets” and “choice” in schooling stem from the libertarian ideas Milton Friedman espoused in the 1950s. Considering the underlying politics of school choice, it is important to examine the ramifications of neoliberal and collective ideology on market-based school choice research. In this chapter we point out that much of the research suggesting positive findings is continually conducted and promoted by neoliberal ideologically-driven organizations. We begin with a synthesis of the pertinent literature on the conceptions and the funding of market-based school choice research to establish a background of understanding. Next we discuss the role of the production and politics of market-based school choice research for conceptualizing the current educational policy environment. In the third section, we delved into the politics of community use of market-based school choice research. We conclude by discussing the implications of how the comingling of ideology, methods and funding informs the public discourse about market-based schools choice and fit into the larger conversation about education reform.

Here are all of the contributors:

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Please read our contribution to the handbook here.

Vasquez Heilig. J., Brewer, J. & Adamson, F. (2019). The politics of market-based school choice research: A comingling of ideology, methods and funding, In M. Berends, A. Primus and M. Springer (Eds.) Handbook of Research on School Choice, 2nd (pp. 335-350). New York, NY: Routledge.

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