For all of the three-decade hype about how business practices applied to K-12 schools will make them more efficient and high performing, a short hop and skip through the past half-century of for-profit companies failing in the education market might illustrate how applying market-driven practices to improve schools and make money at the same time is tough for even shrewd entrepreneurs.
The argument that for-profit schools cannot succeed because they seek to make money out of the public coffer is not one I make here. There are such “good” schools and they do thrive (see here and here). Keep in mind that other institutions entwine for-profits with public operations such as the space program, hospitals, prisons, and transportation. Government and profit-driven companies have worked together for decades.
And that is why the historical record of businesses contracting with public school authorities is one that should be known well by…
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