ABSTRACT

American education has always included the substantial involvement of private entities. Private K-12 schools, prep academies, and church and religiousaffi liated elementary and high schools have been a part of the American education system since colonial times. It wasn’t until the early 1800s that Horace Mann championed public or common schools to be funded by the states and localities. Higher education in the United States in its early years also started as a private system with the establishment of Harvard College in 1636. Today, American private colleges and universities enroll millions of students and are regarded as among the best in the world. These private schools whether K-12 or higher education have played and continue to play a signifi cant role in American education. In the last 20 years, however, there has been a signifi cant expansion of privatization in American education by profi t-making entities. Education management companies (EMOs), private tutoring services, commercial software and online learning providers, and for-profi t colleges and universities now play a much more signifi cant role in American education than in the past. While some of these operate as private schools distinct and apart from public schools, others provide services that are integrated with public school operations. In this chapter, we look at the expansion of the role of these private entities in American education.