Show us the money: “Master Class” for private equity investors in public education

Even when people recognize how hard corporations are working to take over public education, they still wonder – is there really that much money to be made in education? Maybe the hedge funders are really doing all this just to help children.

It’s a natural question given the fact that teachers are modestly paid and schools are mostly underfunded, hardly one’s idea of a lucrative investment opportunity.

Well, the private equity investor drool is on full display in this “Master Class” invitation from Capital Roundtable, a group that bills itself as “America’s leading conference company for the middle-market private equity community.”

Here are just a few quotes from the “Master Class” announcement which should leave no room for speculation about corporate motivation to get involved in public education .

“Private equity investing in for-profit education is soaring.”

“For-profit education is one of the largest U.S. investment markets, currently topping $1.3 trillion in value.”

“2013, and beyond, will see numerous for-profit companies making inroads into public and non-profit education by taking over large swaths of the market.  What’s more, they’ll prosper in the corporate training and continuing education marketplace as well.”


  • The entire education sector now represents nearly 9 percent of the U.S. GDP.
  • Merger and acquisition activity in for-profit education last year surpassed activity at the peak of the Internet boom.

Some of what you will learn at this Master Class:

  • Find out which technologies are poised to take off, such as massive open online courses (MOOCs), adaptive learning platforms, and virtual laboratories.
  • Recognize the growing demand for training tools to assess performance and measure effectiveness.
  • Gain insight on the strongest opportunities to lower costs and improve learning.

Some of the questions that will be answered: 

  • How are lenders approaching education deals, and what factors are behind their decisions?
  • What specific criteria should you use in evaluating potential deals?

It’s an especially nice touch that the event is being held on the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, January 15. I’m sure he’d be there if he could.

The class only costs $1,395, which no doubt is tax deductible.



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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.