Steven Klees

Klees, Steven

Short Biography & Significant Contribution

Steven Klees is presently a professor and coordinator of the International Education Policy program at the University of Maryland. He joined the university in 1999 and since then has focused his work on comparative and international education. His main disciplinary specialization is in economics. His interests include policy and practice of education in the United States and other countries. As a result, he has worked with school districts, state governments and international education organizations. The overarching theme of his research has been on issues concerning the political economy of educational policy and social change. This includes the intersection of gender, race and class with educational and social inequalities. Prior to joining the University of Maryland faculty, Professor Klees also taught at Florida State University, the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil, Stanford University and Cornell University.

His professional work has also included research and development projects for organizations like UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank, USAID, and a variety of country Ministries and non-governmental organizations. His regional focus has mainly been in Latin America but he has also had experience working in Africa and Southeast Asia. In total, he has worked on over 30 projects in over 25 different countries. This work has led to Professor Klees' involvement in a wide-ranging set of projects, such as: in 2006, under a contract with the U.S. Department of Labor, he evaluated the Educar project, located in the States of Pernambuco and Bahia, Brazil and concerned with the elimination of the worst forms of child labor. In 2002, for UNICEF, he headed up a team in Uganda to examine the barriers to all children receiving a good quality primary education and the policy options for improvement. In 1999, at Florida High School he was part of a team that evaluated the cost-effectiveness of a web-based statewide high school. In 1998, he gave a workshop for staff members of Save the Children on the cost-effectiveness for women and child development programs in four countries. The same year he gave a workshop on participatory evaluation of rural development projects for the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). As a member of a team in 1998 for the Inter-American Development Bank, he worked on an economic assessment of a proposal for Barbados to have intensive use of computers to promote national education reform. The Leon County Council of Economic Advisors in 1996 appointed him as part of a seven-person body that focused on improving economic advice in county government. Under UNICEF, he ran a workshop in Brazil on the educational sector analysis for national, state and local levels. This workshop brought together Brazilians and professionals from six Portuguese-speaking African countries in 1995. In 1992-1993 under UNICEF, he was part of a Florida State University team that analyzed the situation of street and working children worldwide and the education initiatives to improve their condition. The Harvard University Institute for International Development and USAID worked with him in 1994 on two projects in El Salvador. One project looked at connections between education, the labor market and the economy. The other focused on the financing of education. His work with the World Bank includes developing alternative approaches to the economic evaluation of resource allocation choices in education. This was under the Higher Education Group in 1993. In 1991, he worked with a Public Sector Expenditure Review team for the World Bank to analyze education sector expenditures and policies focusing on Nicaragua.

Additionally, his professional experience includes being a Fulbright Scholar on two occasions at the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil. He has received the U.S. Office of Education Fellowship in Economics of Education from 1970-1973. He was awarded the Comparative & International Education Society's Outstanding Scholarship Award in 1987. And in 2007 he served as the elected President of the Comparative & International Education Society.

Professor Klees' current courses include: the Political Economy of Education and Development which analyzes the debates over how economists understand education policy and practice; Alternative Education, Alternative Development that begins with the critique that education is basically reproductive of the social and economic order to examine how progressive educational and social change may be achieved; the Economic Evaluation of Education that examines the approaches and concepts that economists use to examine and evaluate educational activities; Analyzing System-wide Education Policy that uses Maryland as a case study to apply sector assessment techniques that international agencies use; and Introduction to Research Methods that contrasts quantitative, qualitative, and critical approaches.

Educational Background

Bachelors of Arts, Mathematic, Queens College (1968)

Master of Arts, Economics, Stanford University (1971)

Master of Business Administration, Systems Analysis, Stanford University (1971)

Doctor of Philosophy, Economics & Public Policy, Stanford University (1975)

Professional Background

Professor at University of Maryland (1999-present)

Professor at Florida State University (1985-1999)

Associate Professor at Florida State University (1981-1985)

Visiting Professor of Public Administration at Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (1979-1980)

Visiting Professor of Economics of Education at Stanford University (1976-1977)

Assistant Professor of Educational Policy at Cornell University (1973-1976)

Lecturer in Business and Economics at California State University (1971-1972)

Affiliations (associations, organizations, institutions)

American Economics Association

American Educational Research Association

Comparative and International Education Society

Selected Publications

Klees, S. (forthcoming) Reflections on Theory, Method, and Practice in Comparative and International Education, Presidential Address, Comparative Education Review.

Klees, S. (forthcoming) A Quarter Century of Neoliberal Thinking in Education: Misleading Analyses and Failed Policies.Globalization, Societies and Education.

Klees, S. and Thapliyal, (2007, November) N. The Right to Education: The Work of Katarina Tomasevski, Comparative Education Review, November 2007, 51, 4, 497-510.

Klees, S. (2002) World Bank Education Policy: New Rhetoric, Old Ideology. International Journal of Educational Development, 22, 451-74.

Klees, S. (2001) Knowledge, Power, and Politics: The World Bank and Education. Norrag News, 28.

Klees, S. & Rizzini, I. (Summer 2000). Child Rights and Children's Involvement in the Making of a New Constitution in Brazil. Cultural Survival Quarterly

Klees, S. (1999, April). Privatization and Neoliberalism: Ideology and Evidence in Rhetorical Reforms. Current Issues in Comparative Education, 1, (2).

Klees, S. (1999) The Poverty of Partnership without Power. Norrag News, 25.

Klees, S. (1998, November). NGOs: Progressive Force or Neoliberal Tool?" Current Issues in Comparative Education, 1(1).

Klees, S. & Verhine, R. (1996, January). Comprehensive Education Analysis: Workshop Reflections. UNICEF Education News, 6(1).

Dewees, A. & Klees, S. (1995). Social Movements and Social Change: A Transformation of Policy for Street and Working Children in Brazil. Comparative Education Review, 39(1), 76-100.

Klees, S. (1991). The Economics of Education: Is That All There is? Comparative Education Review, 35(4), 721-34.

Easton, P. & Klees, S. (1990). Education and the Economy: Considering Alternative Perspectives. Prospects, 20(4), 413-28.

Klees, S. (1986). Planning and Policy Analysis in Education: What Can Economics Tell Us? Comparative Education Review, 30(4), 574-607.

Wells, S. & Klees, S. (1980). The Economics of Health and Development. NY: Praeger Publications.

Jamison, D., Klees, S. & Wells, S. (1978). The Costs of Educational Media: Guidelines for Planning and Evaluation. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1978.


Created: 3/17/2008

Updated: 3/17/2008

Contributed By: May Wang, Teachers College, Columbia University