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