A K–12 For-Profit Invasion … For the Better?

Dec 19, 2012

A preschool classroom at the Summit Speech School in New Providence, NJ. Photograph: Wikimedia Commons.

Business is well equated with terms like ‘productivity’, ‘efficiency’, ‘return on investment’, and ‘evolving practices.’ Unfortunately, these aren’t the terms that necessarily come to mind when speaking about our education system. There are those who are committed to protecting the education status quo even as data suggests the traditional system is failing children across the United States. These are the same people who criticize those who believe some business acumen could actually help improve education.

In the Wall Street Journal, Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute condemns the criticism of for-profits in education while pointing out that biases exist everywhere from the federal level to parent advocacy groups. However, for-profits could and should have a place at the education reform table because of their ability to produce results.

Part of their inherent mission is to constantly improve while maintaining a vigilant eye on efficiency. Doing more with less is something our public school system so desperately needs as funding cuts are taking place nationwide. 

In addition, ‘doing more with less’ needs to forever uphold quality as a key tenet. It won’t do the for-profit investors or the traditional side any good to patch over shoddy work. Blended models that use some online innovations with face-to-face teaching can revolutionize how our students learn.

There are countless opportunities for different sectors to work together and collaborate in a way that will demonstrate each sector’s strengths. It’s time to try something new that upholds what we’ve been working towards the entire time: a quality education for all of our kids.

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