Marketing Schools? Education Research by Bowdoin Professor Causes Stir

sjessenResearch by Sarah Butler Jessen, visiting assistant professor of education, has made people look hard at how educational privatization and school choice has led to schools spending more on marketing.

“Administrators of charter management organizations, in particular, depend heavily on online marketing as well as social media, direct mail campaigns, and branding initiatives to attract students to their schools,” Jessen and her co-researcher, Catherine DiMartino, write. “In turn, neighborhood public schools have had to reallocate resources to respond with publicity efforts of their own to attract and retain students. ”

Jessen’s research was noted by  former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, in her blog. She writes, “Jessen and DiMartino explain to EduShyster that aggressive charter schools flood their target zones with mailings in order to produce more applicants than there are openings. This helps to brand them as ‘popular’.”


  1. Steven Plourde says:

    Competition for students should cause all schools in an area to improve their curricula — consequently offering the opportunity for graduates to achieve a higher level of education. If government schools produced the type of graduates that visibly looked better to parents than the charter schools and private schools in the area, they would not need much money for advertizing.

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