Forbes 30 under 30 in education: Manufacturing “edu-preneur” networks to promote and reinforce privatization/marketization in education


  • T. Jameson Brewer University of North Georgia
  • Nicholas D. Hartlep Metropolitan State University
  • Ian M. Scott University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



Education Policy, Privatization, Marketization, Social Closure, Neoliberalism, Homophily, Echo Chamber, Edu-Preneur


Each year Forbes bestows a handful of “edu-preneurs” with the 30 Under 30 Award in Education (Under30), designating those individuals as the best hope for revolutionizing and reforming education. Boasting low recipient rates, Forbes elevates the manufactured expertise of awardees and the importance of their organizations and ventures. Further, Forbes employs the language and norms of neoliberalism to articulate a pro-market vision of education reform. This social network analytic (SNA) study seeks to untangle the edu-preneur network and critically examine the connections between awardees, their organizations, judges, and the larger education reform network. To this end, we utilized descriptive analyses and SNA. We find evidence that Under30 serves as a mechanism for promoting social closure and ideological homophily within education reform networks. Further, we consider the policy implications that such awards may have on public discourse and policy creation.



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Author Biographies

T. Jameson Brewer, University of North Georgia

T. Jameson Brewer is an Assistant Professor of Social Foundations of Education at the University of North Georgia and is a former K-12 teacher.  Broadly conceptualized, his research focuses on the impact of privatization and marketization of public education by way of school vouchers, charter schools, homeschooling, and alternative teacher certification. He is co-editor of the book Teach For America Counter-Narratives: Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out (Peter Lang, 2015) which was named as a Teaching for Change Favorite Book of 2015.  Follow him on Twitter: @tjamesonbrewer

Nicholas D. Hartlep, Metropolitan State University

Nicholas D. Hartlep is currently an Associate Professor of Urban Education and the Chair of the Early Childhood and Elementary Education Department in the School of Urban Education at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He also serves as the Graduate Program Coordinator within the School of Urban Education. His research focuses on the model minority stereotype of Asian/Americans and critiques of neoliberalism and student loan debt. He is the co-editor of The Neoliberal Agenda and the Student Debt Crisis in U.S. Higher Education (Routledge, 2017) which was named a 2018 Outstanding Book by the Society of Professors of Education. He is currently writing What Can Be Learned from Work Colleges? An Education That Works (SUNY Press). Follow him on Twitter: @nhartlep 

Ian M. Scott, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ian Scott is a PhD student in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A former special education teacher, he has research interests in policy and program evaluation methods, special education policy, and education in carceral settings. 




How to Cite

Brewer, T. J., Hartlep, N. D., & Scott, I. M. (2018). Forbes 30 under 30 in education: Manufacturing “edu-preneur” networks to promote and reinforce privatization/marketization in education. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26, 76.