WASHINGTON DC, Aug. 1, 2013 – Across industries such as health care, clean energy and even space exploration, private enterprise plays an accepted and critical role. Yet when it comes to education, Americans see for-profits as an evil imposition. While there is no shortage of negative opinions on for-profit education providers, there has been a lack of real conversation about the complex and complicated role they do, can and should play in improving American education.
As the education business continues to grow—and concerns about the United States educational system mount—it’s essential to move beyond rhetoric and gain an understanding of for-profits’ strengths and flaws, and how policymakers can involve them in tackling critical education challenges. In the new book Private Enterprise and Public Education (Teachers College Press, Aug. 2013), editors Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute and Michael B. Horn of the Clayton Christensen Institute, along with contributors from across the education system, offer a thoughtful discussion on how for-profit education providers can promote quality and cost-effectiveness at scale.
“At a time when the educational status quo is defined by tight budgets, disappointing outcomes, high remediation rates and rising expectations, for-profits have a productive role to play in American education,” Hess and Horn argue. “Given sensible policies and quality control mechanisms, policymakers can leverage the power of for-profit innovation and investment to create a student-centric learning environment.”
Surveying the good and the bad of for-profits at the K-12, pre-K and higher education levels, Private Enterprise and Public Education initiates an important conversation that needs to brought to the forefront of education reform discussions.
Frederick M. Hess is director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Michael B. Horn is the co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute and serves as executive director of its education program. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org (202.862.5829) for media requests.