At Forward Advisors, we see K-12 education as more than just an investment opportunity. Instead, we see public education as the most important way that any of us can reach our true potential. With that in mind, we believe that there is a place for private equity and venture capital in the K-12 marketplace.
What investors need to understand, however, is that the hallmark of public education — the thing that makes public education in this country so great— is that all means truly means all when it comes to serving students.
People in the know, including Diane Ravitch, have rightly criticized investments in voucher schools and independent charter schools. These investments are often made without consideration of the larger education implications and tend to lose money and hurt kids.
The fact is that smart money should be invested in companies that serve public schools in ways that actually help students. The fact is that what is good for all students is also good for investors.
The following are Forward Advisors’ company principles.
- We believe that a high-quality public education is a human right and that all American children — regardless of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or ancestry, as well as that of their family — are entitled to a great public education.
- We believe that public education is one of the fundamental elements of our democracy, one of the best ways for all of us to make use of the talents provided to us by our maker.
- We believe that education is changing and improving, and we believe that educators, educational leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors are key to this change. We believe that the best days of public education are yet to come.
- We believe that those of us who are part of this educational change understand our responsibility to ensure that all students are served, not just those who are the easiest and least expensive to educate. We understand that some educational polices are thinly veiled attempts to sort children in ways that will ensure that students who have the most to gain from a great education are systematically underserved. This is especially true with private school voucher programs. We will not be a part of this kind of effort.
- We believe that capitalism, entrepreneurialism, and efforts aimed at serving the public good can work together in ways that serve all students.
Joe Donovan is the principal of Forward Advisors, a national private equity consulting firm that specializes in the K-12 educational marketplace. Joe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (800) 393–5283.