NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED521781
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Apr
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Beyond Good and Evil: Understanding the Role of For-Profits in Education through the Theories of Disruptive Innovation. Private Enterprise in American Education. Special Report 1
Horn, Michael B.
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
For decades, for-profit educational provision has been tolerated, often grudgingly. In the world of charter schooling, for-profit providers are lambasted and sometimes prohibited. In higher education, for-profit institutions have grown rapidly, enrolling millions of nontraditional students and earning enmity, suspicion, and now investigative and regulatory actions in Washington. When it comes to student lending, teacher quality, and school turnarounds, there is a profound preference for nonprofit or public alternatives. All of this is too familiar to be remarkable. In this paper, the author explains why policymakers and reformers who castigate for-profits or nonprofits as inherently bad or good are mistaken. It is not about whether for-profits are "bad" or "good," he cautions, but about what for-profits are and are not given incentives to do regarding consumer satisfaction, embedded regulatory structures, and shareholder demands. As he argues, "Government should not discriminate between for-profits and nonprofits as a matter of blanket policy. Instead, it should ask if the company with which it is contracting, for-profit or nonprofit, is delivering on what society is paying it to do, as determined by both the spirit and letter of the law. And policymakers more broadly should be asking if the law is asking these organizations to do the right thing." (Contains 3 figures and 20 notes.)
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; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Identifiers - Location: District of Columbia