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New report shows for-profit charter school sector adding students, but not schools

By John Published: January 6, 2012

The National Education Policy Center in Colorado has released its 13th annual Profiles of For-Profit and Nonprofit Education Management Organizations report, a comprehensive look at the national charter school industry. I won't have time to read the report today, but it's available online here.

The report's key finding is that growth in the for-profit sector has leveled off over the last three years, but companies are rapidly boosting enrollment in their existing schools and expanding into other services. Non-profit charter enrollment is growing even faster, according to the report.  Akron-based White Hat Management operates 46 charter schools, according to the report. Virginia-based Imagine Schools is the largest for-profit in the country with 83 schools, including 2 in Akron.

Here's a summary from the press release:

Across the nation, almost 300 private companies referred to as ''education management organizations'' are taking a big bite out of the public school apple. According to a new report, EMOs now operate 35 percent of all public charter schools, and these schools account for 42 percent of all charter school students. In the for-profit sector, the number of companies has remained relatively stable over the past few years, yet many of the large and medium-sized for-profit EMOs are expanding the number of students they serve on their campuses, and there has been a dramatic expansion in ''virtual schools.'' Further, the number of students enrolled in schools under non-profit management has been growing even more rapidly.  

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