Education privatization in the United States: Increasing saturation and segregation




Access to Education, Charter Schools, English Learners, Neoliberalism, Privatization, School Choice, School Resegregation, Special Education


This article outlines different forms of education privatization operating globally, examines their prevalence within the United States, and analyzes whether student marginalization and segregation occurs at the local level. We analyze six U.S. districts with higher saturation levels of charter schools, the most predominant type of privatization (Camden, NJ, Washington DC, Flint, MI, Detroit, MI, Natomas, CA, and Oakland, CA). We find education privatization increasing in the US, but unevenly dispersed, with charter schools concentrated primarily in urban areas serving students of color. Furthermore, segregation in education remains a major issue for all types of schools, with students of color in urban contexts often attending intensely segregated schools (over 90% students of color). Instead of mitigating the segregation problem, student selection by charter school appears to exacerbate it, specifically for special education students.


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Author Biographies

Frank Adamson, California State University, Sacramento

Dr. Adamson currently studies the relationships between different political and economic approaches to education and student experiences and their performance in schools. His recent volume, Global Education Reform, compares the approaches of privatization and public investment to education policy in six countries. He has also studied the role of charter schools and education privatization for communities and students in both Oakland and New Orleans. Previously, he published on assessments of deeper learning and 21st century skills at multiple governance levels, as well as on teacher salary differences within metropolitan labor markets in New York and California. He has also completed studies for the USDOE, OECD, IEA, and UNESCO, including analyses of PISA and TIMSS, and has authored or co-authored 3 books and over 30 publications.

Meredith Galloway, California State University, Sacramento

Meredith Galloway is an emerging researcher and doctoral student at California State University, Sacramento. As a lifelong educator, she has held different positions from dropout recovery specialist to assistant principal and has been recognized as a State-level Keystone Technology Integration Specialist. Her research interests include teacher attrition, labor markets, and education privatization.




How to Cite

Adamson, F., & Galloway, M. (2019). Education privatization in the United States: Increasing saturation and segregation. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 27, 129.



Globalization, Privatization, Marginalization