Speaking of the education industry, last week Erik Robelen wrote a fascinating piece for EdWeek that among other things described the foundation trend towards funding the growth and spread of EMOs -- education management organizations -- to run groups of charter schools instead of invididual operations (Venture Fund Fueling Push For New Schools).
This week, charter insider Marc Dean Millot writes that EMOs are “a poor business model” whose economies of scale are mostly illusory (What Happened to the Charter Idea?: (I) Why “Bottom-Up” Became “Top-Down”). (subscription required).
But Millot, who formerly ran a national charter organization and now puts out a newsletter covering the school improvement industry, doesn’t romanticize the good old days of mom-and-pop charter schools, either. “Establishing charter schools is an entrepreneurial triathlon - combining the challenges of political campaigns, business starts and pedagogical creation,” he writes. “Schools resulting from the herculean efforts of the under-qualified missionaries who stepped forward were often too small to be financially stable, vulnerable to political opposition, and perhaps prone to mediocrity.”
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