The growth of for-profit providers in the K–16 education sector has generated more than its share of controversy. From the emergence of charter schools to post-secondary options like the University of Phoenix, for-profit providers have been lauded for their capacity to serve historically underserved populations but derided for their pursuit of profit—which, critics argue, is at the expense of the public good.

This important volume takes stock of the debate, neither demonizing nor celebrating the for-profit sector, to understand what it takes for for-profits to promote quality and cost effectiveness at scale. Contributors address how policymakers and other education stakeholders can create an environment where the power of for-profit innovation and investment is leveraged to better serve students. The role that private enterprise can and should play in American education needs to be brought to the forefront of reform discussions. Editors Hess and Horn move beyond heated rhetoric to offer a thoughtful and probing analysis that will enable stakeholders to craft a viable future for public education.