By now you are almost certainly aware that the specimen known as the EduShyster (or homo educandus shysterus as he prefers to be called after a few Pimm’s Cups–see below) is consumed by a single all consuming question: How can I help to close the achievement gap? How can I make some @#$% money off of these little bastards? And yet as the EduShyster and his eduvestor colleagues can testify, making money off of our guaranteed right to a public education is not easy. There exists a shameful “investment gap” between the rich profits that the EduShyster knows are lurking within the classrooms and hallways of our public schools and the green stuff he has so far been able to extract from the system. That’s why I was so relieved to learn that a special conference is being offered just for eduvestors like us.
Even the title makes me feel richer: Private Equity Investing In For-Profit Education Companies—Middle-Market Investors Are Finding Lots of Profitable High-Growth Segments. But still the obvious question leaped immediately to mind: ‘aren’t for-profit education companies are being hammered by regulatory uncertainty and worries about students’ return on investment?’ Fortunately, conference organizers were more than happy to provide some helpful context on the current state of the education space.
Education is now the second largest market in the U.S., valued at $1.3 trillion. So while an industry of this size will always be scrutinized by regulators, the most onerous recent changes are likely over, and investors should face an easier climate down the road. And while eventual passage is not guaranteed, several pieces of legislation favoring the for-profit industry have been proposed in Congress.
In the K-12 space, the federal “Race To The Top” initiative has enabled a growing level of privatization in the K-12 segment, and rewarding districts for embracing alternative models, technological advances, and locally-based criteria.
Sounds good to me! And at just $1395, the day-long conference is also a real bargain. (Just mail your check and business card to 12 East 44 Street, Penthouse, New York, NY 10017). But let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we? What can we actually expect to learn at the Capital Roundtable on Private Equity Investing In For-Profit Education Companies? Will there be a session on Due Diligence, Deal Structuring, Pricing, & Exits? Absolutely–but be patient; it’s not until after lunch.
Of course the EduShyster is most excited about the opportunity to network and hobnob with eduvestors from hedge funds and private equity firms. I’m particularly excited to hang with some of my peeps from Democrats for Education Reform. Pimm’s Cups are on me, lads! Let’s toast to closing that achievement gap investment gap, shall we?
2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1
Ginger ale (the driest available)
Slice of lemon
Slice of cucumber
Pour the Pimm’s and ginger ale into a chilled highball glass or metal cup over ice. Squeeze a slice of lemon well as you drop it in the glass; then stir gently and garnish with a cucumber slice.