Main Menu Summer 2013

Christopher Lubienski

Chris Lubienski's research centers on public and private interests in education, including the use of market mechanisms such as choice and competition to improve schooling, especially for disadvantaged children. His work examines reforms and movements such as vouchers, charter schools, tuition tax credits, and home schooling that seek to decentralize and deregulate educational governance. He focuses on outcomes anticipated by reformers in areas such as increased innovation and higher levels of achievement, exploring the frequent disconnect between research findings and policy advocacy. He is currently investigating the organizational behavior of schools and districts in local education markets in metropolitan areas.

Educational Background

  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Education Policy, National Academy of Education, 2005
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Education Policy, Advanced Studies Program, Brown University, 2002
  • Ph.D., Education Policy and Social Analysis, Michigan State University, 1999
  • M.A., History, Michigan State University, 1992
  • B.S., History, Northern Michigan University (Summa Cum Laude), 1989

Key Professional Appointments

  • Scholar, Scholars Strategy Network, 2013-present
  • Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois, 2013-present
  • Associate Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois, 2007-2013
  • Visiting Scholar, Faculty of Education, Unviversity of New South Wales, 2012-2012
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar, New Zealand, University of Waikato, 2011-2011
  • Assistant Professor, Educational Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois, 2004-2007
  • Assistant Professor, History, Philosophy & Comparative Studues in Educa, Iowa State University, 1999-2004

Activities & Honors

  • Sir Walter Murdoch Visiting Professor, Education, Murdoch University, 2013-present
  • Fellow, National Education Policy Center, 2010-present
  • Member, Editorial Board, Education Policy Analysis Archives, 2009-present
  • Faculty Affiliate, Institute of Government and Public Affairs, 2008-present
  • Fellow, Forum on the Future of Public Education, 2007-present
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 2006-present
  • Member, Policy Task Force, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, 2006-present
  • PROSE winner, American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence, Education Theory, Association of American Publishers, 2015
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students, , 2014
  • Member, Editorial Board, Educational Administration Quarterly, 2011-2014
  • Distinguished Senior Scholar, College of Education, 2013
  • Associate Editor, American Educational Research Journal, 2011-2013
  • Member, Editorial Board, Educational Researcher, 2009-2012
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students, (rated “outstanding,” Spring, 2005; Spring 2007), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004-2012
  • Visiting Scholar — Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, Monash University, 2011
  • Fulbright US Senior Scholar, New Zealand, Fulbright Program, 2010-2011
  • Member, Spencer Foundation, Small Research Grants Advisory Committee, 2008-2011
  • Distinguished Scholar, College of Education, 2007-2008
  • Review Panel Member, Research and Evaluation on Education in Science and Engineering, National Science Foundation, 2006-

Research Statement

Research interests: Education Policy and Politics, Political Economy of Education, Organizational Theory and Innovation, Relationship of Theory and Evidence to Policy, Education Reform and Equity, International-Comparative Analyses, Geographic Analyses and Urban Education


  • Principal Investigator, How Do Intermediary Organizations Define & Disseminate Research for Educational Policymaking?, William T. Grant Foundation, 2011-2015
  • Principal Investigator, Hardie Faculty Fellow: The Social Geography of Universal Choice: Competition, Charter Schools and Access in Post-Katrina New Orleans, Bureau of Educational Research, 2008-2009
  • Co-Principal Investigator, School Choice and Educational Reform in New Orleans, Campus Research Board, 2007-2008
  • Principal Investigator, The Social Geography of School Choice in Segregated Urban Areas, The Spencer Foundation (National Academy of Education), 2005-2006
  • Co-Principal Investigator, School Choice Policies and Outcomes Around the Globe: Philosophical and Empirical Perspectives on Limits to Choice in Liberal Democracies, The Spencer Foundation, 2005-2006
  • Principal Investigator, Adversaries or Allies: Do voucher programs increase competitive or cooperative strategies between public, private, and charter schools?, Bureau of Educational Research, 2005-2006
  • Co-Principal Investigator, A New Look at School Type, Mathematics Achievement and Equity, U.S. Department of Education, 2005-2006
  • Co-Principal Investigator, School Choice Policies and Outcomes Around the Globe: Philosophical and Empirical Perspectives on Limits to Choice in Liberal Democracies, International Program Studies (William and Flora Hewlett Foundation), 2005-2006
  • Principal Investigator, Substantive and Symbolic Innovation in Competition-Based School Reform, Campus Research Board, 2005-present
  • Principal Investigator, Marketing Schools: Structuring incentives for innovation in educational production and promotion, The Spencer Foundation (Brown University), 2003-2003

In The News

Education 'experts' may lack expertise, study finds

Feb. 20, 2015

Education experts cited in media stories and blog posts may have little background in research or education policy Read more...

Governor advocates for lifting Illinois' cap on charter schools

Feb. 11, 2015

Bruce Rauner's reforms questioned by public education expert Chris Lubienski Read more...

K-12 funding remains a challenge in Illinois, says EPOL professor

Jul. 9, 2014

Illinois continues to face significant structural challenges in K-12 education and has experimented with ways of avoiding those obstacles. Yet the current reforms in elementary and secondary education utilize approaches that tend to de-emphasize inputs such as resources in favor of standards, accountability, choice, and structural reforms of school governance. Read more...