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ERIC Number: ED516585
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 31
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Private Capital and Public Education: Toward Quality at Scale. Working Paper 2009-02
Vander Ark, Tom
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
In this paper, the author sketches a vision depicting some of the ways in which technology could revolutionize the traditional school environment--with static, printed texts replaced by adaptive, digital learning and virtual learning communities supplementing seat time. He argues that any such transformation, however, is dependent upon investment and the incentives motivating public, philanthropic, and private funding. He notes that while public dollars are aimed at promoting equity and serving the neediest populations, the government has invested far too little in research and development while maintaining an "ossified bureaucracy" unable to adapt to changing needs. And, while young foundations have pressed non-profits to emulate for-profit business models, non-profits nonetheless have modest incentives to expand and often have great difficulty finding the capital necessary to do so. In short, he sees a dramatic increase in private, for-profit investment as an essential driver of real transformation. The author emphasizes the importance of for-profit education companies that can attract venture capital and that are better equipped to sustain and grow through profits and private equity. "Private investment will not fix the problems with education," he writes, "but education will not be fixed without it." These companies can bring new services to education--including supplemental online tutoring, digital curricula, adaptive assessments, and school management. The author believes that public-private partnerships can be harnessed to pursue both social impact and sustainable profits. But doing so requires reducing statutory and bureaucratic barriers while altering incentives so that such private partnerships can play more than a marginal role. (Contains 1 figure, 2 tables, 4 footnotes and 19 endnotes.)
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. 1150 Seventeenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-862-5800; Fax: 202-862-7177; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research