Christopher Lubienski

Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Indiana University
Chapter Member: Indiana SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Christopher

Lubienski is an expert on education policy and reform, studying the effects of school choice policies (e.g. charter schools, vouchers, homeschooling) particularly in areas of academic achievement, access, democratic governance, and innovation in the U.S. and other nations. Additionally, he examines advocacy organizations’ ability to influence the use of research evidence in the policymaking process. Lubienski serves as the Director of the Forum on the Future of Public Education at the University of Illinois. He is also the Sir Walter Murdoch Adjunct Professor at Murdoch University in Western Australia, a Fellow with the National Education Policy Center in Boulder, Colorado, and a Fulbright Senior Scholar in New Zealand.


In the News

Christopher Lubienski quoted on philanthropy and education reform, "Gates Focuses on Schools While Examining US Poverty Issues" Austin-American Statesman, February 13, 2018.
Christopher Lubienski quoted on the flattening out of the homeschool population after years of growth by Sean Cavanagh, "Data Snapshot: Who are the Nation’s Homeschoolers?" Education Week, November 20, 2017.
"Student Vouchers Aren't Working. Here's Why.," Christopher Lubienski (with Sarah Theule Lubienski), Education Week, June 16, 2017.
Christopher Lubienski quoted on home-schooling by Jessica Huseman, "The Unbelievable Power of the Home-Schooling Lobby" Pacific Standard, October 14, 2015.
Christopher Lubienski quoted on the diversity gap between students and teachers in public schools by Joseph Williams, "America’s Public School Students are Less White, so Why Aren’t Teachers?" Take Part, September 24, 2015.
Christopher Lubienski quoted , "Education 'Experts' May Lack Expertise, Study Finds", February 20, 2015.
Christopher Lubienski's research on the lack of expertise in news-media debates over education policy discussed by "Do the Loudest ‘Expert’ Voices on Education Have the Least Expertise?," Chronicle of Higher Education, February 20, 2015.
Christopher Lubienski quoted on the gap between education research and policy, "Matching Politics: How to be Deemed an Education Expert" Science 20, February 20, 2015.
Guest to discuss challenging the notions about the successes of private education on Huffington Post Live, Christopher Lubienski, February 19, 2015.
Christopher Lubienski quoted on the problems with proposed voucher measures, "NEPC Reviewers Find a Texas-Sized Overreach" PR Web, February 17, 2015.
Christopher Lubienski quoted on the advantages and disadvantages of public and private schools by David Cutler, "The Private-School Stigma" The Atlantic, January 21, 2015.
Christopher Lubienski quoted on education policies, "ALEC 'Report Card' Recycles Bogus School Quality and Improvement Claims" Digital Journal, November 7, 2014.
Guest to discuss enrollment practices in education markets on Radio New Zealand, Christopher Lubienski, June 25, 2012.
Guest to discuss the successes and failures of charter schools on NPR’s “On Point”, Christopher Lubienski, February 23, 2012.
Guest to discuss school choice on Australia’s ABC Radio, Christopher Lubienski, June 16, 2011.
Christopher Lubienski's research on public and private school achievement discussed by Hillary Chura, "Relax, It’s Just Preschool," New York Times, July 14, 2006.
Christopher Lubienski's research on charter school achievement discussed by Ralph Martire, "Privatization is No Answer to Improving Education," Chicago Sun-Times, February 4, 2006.
Christopher Lubienski's research on public school achievement discussed by Diana Schemo, "Public-School Students Score Well in Math in Large-Scale Government Study," New York Times, January 28, 2006.
Christopher Lubienski's research on public school achievement discussed by Joshua Benton, "Can Cash Buy Good Schools?," Dallas Morning News, June 26, 2005.
"Q&A with Christopher Lubienski and Peter Weitzel," Christopher Lubienski, Interview with Staff Writers, Harvard Education Letter, November/December 2010.


"Educational Expertise, Advocacy, and Media Influence" (with Joel R. Malin). Education Policy Analysis Archives 23, no. 6 (2015).
Hypothesizes that some of the most influential education-focused organizations are advancing their agendas by engaging media and drawing on individuals who possess substantial media acumen, yet may not possess traditionally defined educational expertise.
"The Politics of Research Production, Promotion, and Utilization in Educational Policy" (with Janelle Scott and Elizabeth DeBray). Educational Policy 28, no. 2 (2014): 131-144.
Compares the relative role of research use in education policy to other issues, such as climate science, and highlight the growing role of intermediate actors as they shape research use. Considers common characteristics of these policy issues that may contribute to misuse or disuse, as well as to greater consideration of research.
The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools (with Sarah Theule Lubienski) (University of Chicago Press, 2013).
Challenges the conventional wisdom that private is better in schooling – an assumption at the heart of current reform efforts such as charter schools and voucher programs. Instead, the evidence suggests that tried-and-true measures such as teacher certification and teachers’ pedagogical and content knowledge explain the relative effectiveness of public schools.
"Privatizing Form or Function? Equity, Outcomes and Influence in American Charter Schools" Oxford Review of Education 39, no. 4 (2013): 498-513.
Considers how charters are or are not instances of privatization in education, showing that the marketized environment they are intended to nurture serves as a route for profit-seeking strategies. As charter schools often act like profit-seeking entities, but fail to achieve expected academic and equity outcomes, the concluding discussion considers how these schools’ most important role is in serving as a vehicle for privatizing public policy – diminishing the public while enhancing the position and influence of private interests and organizations in education policymaking.
"Does Homeschooling “Work”? A Critique of the Empirical Claims and Agenda of Advocacy Organizations" (with T. Jameson Brewer and Tiffany Puckett). Peabody Journal of Education 88, no. 3 (2013): 378-392.
Examines and critiques the empirical claims made by homeschooling proponents to justify further expansion and deregulation of the movement, and sheds light on the homeschool advocacy agenda explicit in those claims.
The Charter School Experiment: Expectations, Evidence, and Implications (edited with Peter Weitzel) (Harvard Education Press, 2010).
Examines the developing empirical track record of charter schools over the last two decades in areas such as achievement, innovation, integration and equity. Among the major findings is that the rapid growth of this movement often preceded and, indeed, often ignored any evidence on the effectiveness of these schools.
"School Choice and Competitive Incentives: Mapping the Distribution of Educational Opportunities across Local Education Markets" (with Charisse Gulosino and Peter Weitzel). American Journal of Education 115, no. 4 (2009): 601-647.
Investigates patterns of access across three highly competitive local education markets to determine how school choices are arranged, finding that all three cases showed patterns of exclusionary strategies that schools embraced to enhance market position.