Venture Capitalists Moving Into K-12 Education Right On Schedule

A lot of folks who are worried about the direction that education is taking in this country have said, over and over again, that this is partly an attempt by billionaires to amass even more money by controlling K-12 education and removing it from public, local control.

The lead story in today’s Education Week says that those worriers are entirely correct.

An excerpt:

“Venture capital transaction values in the K-12 field, which include both public and private schools, increased from roughly $130 million in 2010 to $334 million last year, according to data from the Chicago-based GSV Advisors.

“Precollegiate education historically has not been an easy market for venture capitalists to break into, analysts say, but certain factors are contributing to a higher awareness of this market for investors.

“Venture capitalists generally look for ‘high-growth opportunities’ and rely on the ability to scale up new enterprises quickly, said Mr. Newman. So the common standards in English/language arts and math, for instance, which have been adopted by all but four states, are contributing to companies’ perception of a potential for fast growth in standards-related ventures across a larger market, he said.

” ‘[The common core] is breaking down some of those state-level barriers that made it challenging for folks [to achieve scale],’ said Mr. Newman. “

Let me point out that imposing a national, uniform curriculum on our public school students will not help if it’s a rotten curriculum. It’s just more diarrhea spread around everywhere.

Published in: on February 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm  Comments (3)  

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  1. It’s the “Wild Wild West” in education. When the dot com bubble burst the venture capitalists had to go somewhere. So they are now using taxpayer funding to further their “entrepreneurship”. It must be nice to be an entrepreneur and using someone else’s money. Especially taxpayer money that is a never ending stream.


    “In fact, Scott Joftus, closely aligned with Bill Gates and his foundation since the early years of 2000, had this to say about education in an article aptly titled “Is the Stimulus Really “No Consultant Left Behind” “:

    That metaphor is an apt one for the market as well. In the fall of 2009, Mr. Joftus was contacted by a former contractor who was working for Global Partnership Schools, a new school turnaround venture funded by GEMS Education, a Dubai-based company founded by entrepreneur Sunny Varkey. The caller was hoping to obtain copies of Mr. Joftus’ contract for school improvement services in Kansas.

    “You know we’re in a new era when school turnaround firms in the U.S. are being funded out of the Middle East,” Joftus said. “To me, that says there’s money to be made. I call this period the Wild West in education.”

    There you go. The conversation between Jofus and the contractor was in 2009. This has been in the works for quite a while.


  2. This is exceptionally timely, thank you. The corporatization of education would not trouble me so much if it led to equal opportunities for all, but it will not. This will make it more difficult for the under-served. This wake up call would be efficacious were there not so many advanced problems in public education, such as in-fighting, bureaucracy, and scapegoating. So, the picture is more like vultures feeding on a corpse.


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