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ERIC Number: ED537911
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Pages: 15
Abstractor: ERIC
Focus on For-Profits in K-12 Education Misses the Real Divide. Private Enterprise in American Education. Special Report 7
Hernandez, Alex
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
For decades, for-profit educational provision has been merely 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 from the federal government. When it comes to student lending, teacher quality, and school turnarounds, there is a profound preference for nonprofit or public alternatives. The problem is that K-12 and higher education are desperately in need of the innovative thinking and nimble adaptation that for-profits can provide in a landscape characterized by healthy markets and well-designed incentives. As critics have noted, for-profits do indeed have incentives to cut corners, aggressively pursue customers, and seek profits. But these traits are the flip side of valuable characteristics: the inclination to grow rapidly, readily tap capital and talent, maximize cost effectiveness, and accommodate customer needs. AEI's Private Enterprise in American Education series is designed to pivot away from the tendency to reflexively demonize or celebrate for-profits and instead understand what it takes for for-profits to promote quality and cost effectiveness at scale. In the seventh installment of the series, Alex Hernandez of the Charter School Growth Fund urges parents, educators, and policymakers to listen critically when arguments are levied against education companies merely on the basis of tax status. Hernandez instead reframes the debate as one between incumbent organizations such as teachers unions and school districts, and new entrants with the potential to disrupt the traditional structure of the American education system. (Contains 37 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 - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Parents; Teachers; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Identifiers - Location: California
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001