Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Rachel Slocum


The United States is experiencing a sweeping neoliberal education reform agenda. The marketization of education is the latest trend in this neoliberal education agenda, and it finally took in hold in Kentucky. Charter schools are understood as being part of the marketization of education, which comes with lower accountability standards and a siphoning of public funds away from traditional public schools. Kentucky has a history of education reform policies that have resulted in an improvement in the quality of public education. However, public education has seen a decline in the allocation of state resources over the past decade. This steady decline in funding has led to more public schools being labeled as failing. Thus charter school legislation emerged in Kentucky and succeeded in passing into law. Save Our Schools Kentucky (SOSKY) mobilized in opposition to Kentucky’s charter school legislation. I worked with and studied SOSKY’s ‘Stop Charters in KY’ advocacy campaign, and I found that SOSKY was successful in building a strong constituency base and building rapport within the legislature but failed to block the passage of charter school legislation due to the timing of the mobilization, the political timing, and the timing of the legislative action on the bill. My analysis shows that because SOSKY mobilized too late in order to set up adequate fundraising strategies, the conservatives finally had control of all bodies in the state legislature, and the bill was pushed through at the end of the session giving Kentuckians very little time to become familiar with its contents, the Stop Charters in KY campaign failed. In order to move forward, advocates must mobilize to ensure accountability and transparency in charter school implementation and work to return power to the local school boards.


Civic and Community Engagement | Education Policy | Politics and Social Change


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