Corporate Education Reform is Working


Some people use the phrase “corporate education reform” to slander reform strategies.

Many supporters of these reform strategies vigorously reject the corporate reform label.

Perhaps it’s time to embrace the truth of the the criticism as well as embrace the label.

My preferred reform strategy, which I call Relinquishment, could fairly be described as corporate reform; after all, it is:

1. Predicated on letting corporations operate schools (mostly non-profit corporations).

2. These corporations utilize the techniques of other successful corporations, including: a culture of high expectations, data usage, and rigorous feedback cycles.

3. These corporations are often funded by foundations which have been capitalized with the profits of other very successful corporations.

So, yes, the reform model: utilizes corporations, which adopt practices from successful corporation, and which receive philanthropy from the owners of other corporations.

Corporate reform? Fair enough.

So how is corporate reform working? CREDO just put out a market analysis of corporate reform in America’s major cities. Some takeaways below.

Corporations have Nearly Doubled Their Profits Over the Past Four Years

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 7.39.20 PM

In urban areas, corporations have gone from a .040 effect size in math to a .081 effect size, and in reading they have gone from a .033 effect size to .057 effect size.

If you average the math profits and reading profits and translate this into days of profit, profits have increased from 26.5 extra days of profit per year to 49.5 extra days of profit per year.

Urban corporations are now delivering over 3 months of extra profit per year compared to their non-corporate counterparts.

Corporations are Achieving the Greatest Profit Margin Off of Black Students in Poverty 

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 7.47.31 PM

Corporations made a lot of money off black students in poverty, delivering 59 days of extra profit in math and 44 days of extra profit in reading.

Profit margins were also high with black students, hispanic students living in poverty, and hispanic students who speak English as a second language.

Corporate Earnings were Particularly Strong in Newark, Boston, New Orleans, the Bay Area, Washington D.C., Denver, Detroit, Memphis, Nashville, and New York City

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 7.54.12 PM

These cities all saw strong earnings, leading analysts to believe both that the market size was bigger than previously understood, and that corporations can still achieve results even as their market share increases when compared to the non-corporate sector.

Unfortunately, corporations did struggle in some cities, such as Las Vegas, Forth Worth, and Fort Meyers. Due to their weak performance, many students, including those in poverty, are not learning as much as they could be.

In Sum

Corporate education reform is working. In cities across the country, corporations are providing months of additional learning to students in poverty.

Closing Note

My blog posts are usually not flippant in nature, mostly because of personal temperament, that fact that I’m not that funny, and the serious nature of the work.

But sometimes parody is the best form of communication.

But have no doubt that the stakes are high: too many children in this country don’t have access to the schools that they deserve, especially children living in poverty.

There is an increasing body of evidence that demonstrates that charter schools can positively change the lives of the students that they serve, especially poor children living in urban areas.

As I’ve said before, with this case, as with most cases, ignoring scientific evidence is going to harm those living in poverty more than others.

So next time someone throws out the phrase “corporate reformer,” understand what this person is really saying: we should stop expanding charter schools that work.

Or to put it in harsher terms: we should restrict poor children from gaining access to knowledge.

Am I corporate reformer?

Yes, I am.

7 thoughts on “Corporate Education Reform is Working

  1. Pam Kingsley

    My objection to corporations managing public dollars is that, in most states, they are immune to Sunshine Laws. This is somewhat “humorous” given the fact I’m in Kansas City where district subterfuge is its central accomplishment — Sunshine or no Sunshine Law.

  2. renujuneja1

    Corporations are showing “profit” in terms of increased learning etc. But what are the hidden costs and will they have a deleterious effect long term?

    1. nkingsl

      Mom, you’re supposed to unabashedly support anything I write.

      But to your question, I’m not sure that there are hidden costs. If pressed, I’d say there might be a trade off between innovation of non-government sector and stability of districts, but it’s one I think we should make.

      Others might point to a decline in teacher unionization as deleterious long-term effect.

  3. Pingback: Diane Ravitch is Good at Speaking the Tribe | relinquishment

  4. Pingback: Education Reform is Getting Less Fragile | relinquishment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.