While large-scale privatization efforts like the Philadelphia experiment may be politically difficult, nationwide the growth of charter schools continues to fuel the growth of both for-profit and nonprofit education service providers.
Charter schools can be viewed as the largest example of education outsourcing, with close to 2,700 individual contracts between charter schools and their government authorizers.
According to “Profiles of For-Profit Education Management Companies, Fifth Annual Report, 2002-2003,” more than 74 percent of all privately managed public schools were charter schools. For-profit providers operate between 10 and 14 percent of all charter schools. In 2002-2003, 47 companies operated 417 schools in 24 states and the District of Columbia.
As more failing schools are driven by the No Child Left Behind Act to seek new management arrangements through charter schools or contract management, the number of for-profit and nonprofit managers will likely continue to increase.
Lisa Snell is director of the education program for the Reason Foundation in Los Angeles. Her email address is [email protected].
For more information …
The report by Alex Molnar, Glen Wilson, and Daniel Allen, “Profiles of For-Profit Education Management Companies, Fifth Annual Report, 2002-2003,” is available online at the Web site of the Commercialism in Education Research Unit at Arizona State University, http://www.asu.edu/educ/epsl/EPRU/documents/EPSL-0301-102-CERU.pdf.