This background paper prepared for the Global Education Monitoring Report on non-States' actors in education: Who chooses? Who looses? provides both the rationale and the framework for re-centring a human rights’ perspective in education sector analysis. It draws on international human rights law as specified in the recently adopted Abidjan Principles on the human rights obligations of States to provide public education and to regulate private involvement in education, a landmark text for the interpretation of the right to education, in particular in the context of growing privatisation in and of education. The paper outlines how to use the Abidjan Principles to develop a tool to measure if and how States are implementing and individuals are enjoying those rights, with a specific focus on the role of non-State actors. We find that reframing education analysis through a human rights lens provides a sharp contrast to the narrow view of education as a human capital generator. Using the human rights framework of structures, processes, and outcomes, we not only detail questions which can guide future research and advocacy, but also demonstrate its use in evaluating data availability and sector plans in the United States and Côte D’Ivoire and re-evaluating existing conclusions from “The Role and Impact of Private Schools in Developing Countries” (Day Ashley et al., 2014).