Opinion
Money & Finance Opinion

Following For-Profit Providers (IV): Industry Segments

October 01, 2007 2 min read

With thousands of firms and more programs, it’s hard to understand and monitor the emerging forest called the school improvement industry. It’s relatively easy to watch one tree. Appreciating a part of the forest – a segment of the industry, falls somewhere in between.

As with all industries, it can be a challenge to identify where one part of the forest - say elementary reading, leaves off and another - like Comprehensive School Reform (CSR) picks up. Sometimes a stand is dominated by a handful of Giant Sequoias overshadowing a thousand saplings, as in textbook publishing. Most territories – Supplemental Educational Services (SES) and professional development, for example, consist of hundreds of trees, growing but still immature.
The best way to build an understanding of the industry is to start somewhere and work your way out. In the end, all market segments are part of one k-12 value chain. I started with charter schools and CSR, which led to Education management Organizations (EMOs), professional development, texts and other content, technology, curriculum and instructional strategies, and on and on. Start with what you know or, if you are an educator looking to fill an educational gap, with what you need.

There are four sources of information on industry segments.

Google is the first. Type in the name, e.g., “supplemental educational services” and see what comes up. It’s the online equivalent of walking into the stacks at the library, going to the appropriate Dewey Decimal number and seeing what’s there. Use the phrase to sign up for a Google news alert. Use some discretion in choosing the general internet and news sources you will rely on, but sample as much as you can.

Third parties often survey market segments. These are a shortcut to the list of providers you need to appreciate the stand. In the first posting I noted several examples. The author(s) may well have a point of view on the segment, and that at least helps you get at the issues as well as the players. Sometimes government will provide you a list. State education agencies often have lists of charter schools and must have lists of firms approved to provide Supplemental Educational Services.

Program evaluations styled as consumer handbooks offer another source.
The North West Regional Educational Laboratory produced a users guide for CSR. The What Works Clearinghouse publishes Topic Reports covering a variety of educational programs. Program guides lead researchers to the segments providers.

School improvement industry trade groups offer a crude guide to market segments and generally identify their members. Their most valuable feature is their identification of a segment’s positions on the issues. The National Council of Education Providers represents EMOs. Historically, a majority of Education Industry Association members have been involved in tutoring, which now encompasses SES. The Software and Information Industry Association Education Division, represents digital instructional and student information services. The makeup of the Association of Educational Publishers and the American Association of Publishers School Division is self-explanatory

The purpose of these postings has been to suggest that it’s not impossible to get started on understanding the real supply side of school improvement. I hope you’ll follow up - especially you eduwonks.

Related Tags:
For-Profits

The opinions expressed in edbizbuzz are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
The Social-Emotional Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on American Schoolchildren
Hear new findings from an analysis of our 300 million student survey responses along with district leaders on new trends in student SEL.
Content provided by Panorama

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Money & Finance Opinion There Is No Bubble in Educational Technology: Not For Businesses That Actually Make Sense
Many people are wondering whether there is a bubble in educational technology. Has too much venture capital been invested in the sector? Have valuations gotten too high? My answer is that there is a bubble in ideas that won't work and a dearth of capital for ideas that can work.
Matt Greenfield
4 min read
Money & Finance Opinion Nice Test Scores, Can I Buy You?; The Future of Financing Talent
A Company called Fantex recently announced it will be selling stock in football superstar Arian Foster, SEC-approval and all. With this breakthrough, is it only a matter of time before we can invest in the future earnings of promising kindergartners?
Tom Segal
7 min read
Money & Finance Opinion EdTech Titans of Industry: A Reflection
This week marked the second annual EdTech Titans of Industry event in New York City featuring some of the top players in education: Diane Rhoten, Jonathan Harber, Gates Bryant, and George Cigale. Here are some of the highlights..
Tom Segal
3 min read
Money & Finance Opinion Mark it a Ten: Tech Acquirers Enter the World of Education
With the rise of ed-tech over the past few years, we have seen a steady stream of publishers, media companies, and private equity shops acting on the back-end of the venture market as the ultimate acquirers. But we have not seen a major technology company jump on board... until now, with Amazon's purchase of TenMarks
Tom Segal
3 min read