To private equity investors, the “education marketplace” is one that is ripe for investment, and a new report shows that in 2021 private equity firms completed a record number of deals in the education sector, following a trend that has seen increases each year since 2007. This new report, Private Equity in Education: How Wall Street Profits from the Public Good, was the subject of a recent webinar featuring Jeff Bryant, whose reporting is featured prominently in the report. According to Bryant, “A substantial sector of charter schools, particularly those operated by for-profit operators like Accel Schools, are at the forefront of a wave of charter operations that follow an investor-driven business model borrowed from retailhealth care, and manufacturing sectors. In the charter school application of this business model, struggling schools are cycled through a series of private entities that, in turn, strip the schools of resources, run them at bare-bones costs, and reap whatever assets that remain before handing the schools off to the next private operator, or shutting them down completely. In business and investment circles, the model is often defended as “an important economic function” to either “revive” struggling enterprises, or “reallocate” resources that have been invested in failed enterprises to more productive endeavors. But in the case of Toledo Prep, and other charter schools practicing this business model, although the business consequences might be fine for the charter operators and their investors, the children caught up in this investor-driven enterprise often have their education significantly disrupted, or even permanently impaired, perhaps with lifelong impact.”

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