Equal Scrutiny

Equal Scrutiny Privatization and Accountability in Digital Education

Patricia Burch and Annalee G. Good
paper, 208 Pages
Pub. Date: May 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-684-5
Price: $30.00

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In the current rush to adopt and expand digital learning, many important considerations are being overlooked that will have major consequences for the future of American public education. As private education technology contractors and vendors move deeper into the work of public education, questions concerning the quality of the services, who is served, and who benefits need to be answered.


By connecting digital education to the social and economic forces that are powerfully affecting education and the realities of teachers’ lives, Patricia Burch and Annalee Good provide us with a nuanced, unromantic, and data-rich analysis of the limits and possibilities of digital education.
— Michael W. Apple, John Bascom Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison

This lucid challenge of the marketing hype promoting privatizing initiatives in digital education directs needed attention to the paucity of evidence behind claims and lays needed groundwork for future empirical studies.
— Henry M. Levin, William H Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

Burch and Good skillfully demonstrate how technology and privatization have become intertwined in the current school reform movement. Few researchers offer us the quality of insights that Burch and Good give us in Equal Scrutiny.
— Christopher Lubienski, professor of education policy, organization, and leadership, College of Education, University of Illinois

Equal Scrutiny is a must-read for all twenty-first century educators. Revealing, sensible, balanced, and provocative, this book should lead to much-needed discussions about how digital education, which is mostly unregulated and unaccountable, is changing schooling in ways that have yet to increase learning opportunities for low-income students.
— Jill Koyama, assistant professor, educational leadership and policy, Graduate School of Education, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

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About the Authors

Patricia Burch is an associate professor at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Burch studies the patterns and drivers of school commercialism and the implications for the form and delivery of public education, with specific attention to equity and quality. Burch’s book, Hidden Markets: The New Education Privatization (Routledge, 2009), examines the intersection of high-stakes accountability policies and for-profit influence on instruction.

Annalee G. Good currently serves as the research director for a mixed-method, longitudinal study of out-of-school time and digital tutoring. From the perspective of both researcher and teacher, she is dedicated to developing effective research-to-practice partnerships with school districts, specifically around access to quality digital education and extended learning opportunities. An eighth grade social studies teacher before earning her doctorate in educational policy studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Good continues to teach online courses for middle school students.

Table of Contents

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