While the number of for-profit companies operating charter schools and other public schools is ticking up slightly, their overall enrollment has expanded greatly as they step up their presence in the virtual and supplemental education markets,.
The report, released by the National Education Policy Center, at the University of Colorado, found that the number of commercial “education management organizations” rose from 95 to 97 in 2011-12, the most recent year studied.
Despite the small increase in the number of operators, student enrollment in public schools run by for-profits spiked, from 411,000 to 463,000 in just that one year. Those numbers reflect a major departure from the mid-1990s, when hardly any students—only about 1,000—were served by public schools run by for-profit providers, the report notes.
A version of this article appeared in the December 11, 2013 edition of Education Week as Education Management Organizations