The number of nonprofit organizations that manage charters and other public schools continues to grow at a steady pace, according to the latest annual report from a collaboration of academic watchdog groups.
The researchers said education management organizations, or EMOs, grew from five in 1995 to 103 last year. In all, the researchers found, these outside groups operated 609 public schools in 25 states over the 2008-09 school year. More than half of these schools were run by large EMOs—those, in other words, that operate 10 or more schools. The EMO that experienced the largest growth over the year was the San Francisco-based Knowledge is Power Program, or KIPP. It boosted the number of schools it operates from 57 in 2007-08 to 64.
The annual report is a joint project of the Commercialism in Education and Education Policy Research Units at Arizona State University, the Education and Public Interest Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the Western Michigan University College of Education in Kalamazoo. It comes on the heels of an earlier report by the same group that pointed to a slowdown in the rate of growth among for-profit EMOs.
Gary Miron, the lead author of the study, said districts might be turning to nonprofits now because they fear for-profit groups will impose higher management fees. Some of the nonprofit growth may also have been assisted by financial support from foundations and private groups, he said.
A version of this article appeared in the October 28, 2009 edition of Education Week as School Management Organizations