Charter Schools

The National Education Association defines charter schools as follows: “Charter schools are publicly funded elementary or secondary schools that have been freed from some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools, in exchange for some type of accountability for producing certain results, which are set forth in each charter school’s charter.” The first charter school was established in Minnesota in 1991 as a part of ongoing educational reform efforts and more specifically, an expansion of market-based school reform. Proponents of charter schools claim that they bring much needed entrepreneurial spirit and a competitive ethos to public education. Opponents claim that to outsource the running of public schools to private entities is to redirect already scarce resources to service fees and profits while creating new layers of administration.

Since the first charter school was established in Minnesota, 40 additional states have passed legislation permitting the formation of charter schools and the number of such schools has grown with each passing year. The formation of Education Management Organizations (EMOs), both nonprofit and for-profit, has been one result of the legislation enabling charter schools. Some EMOs are now quite large, managing dozens of schools while others manage a single school. The diversity of this category of management companies is quite extreme. While not all charter schools are operated by EMOs, in the academic year 2011-12 such EMOs accounted for approximately 39% of all charter schools and 50% of all students enrolled in charter schools. And of the nearly one million students enrolled in EMO-run schools that year, 51% were enrolled in for-profit EMOs.

Today’s market size is the total number of charter schools operating in the United States in the academic years beginning in 2000 and 2010. While charter schools still make up a very small percentage of all public schools in the country (5.3%), it is an area that some people feel holds great promise for further privatization of government services.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: School year starting in the fall of 2000 and 2010
Market size: 1,993 and 5,274 respectively
Sources: (1) “Charter Schools,” a fact sheet on the National Education Association web site from which we quote the definition of these schools, available online here. (2) Gary Miron and Charisse Gulosino, Profiles of For-Profit and Nonprofit Education Management Organizations, November 2013, National Education Policy Center, available online here. (3) Tables 71, 98, and 161 from chapter two of the Digest of Education Statistics: 2012, published by the NCES in 2013 and available online here.
Original source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES); National Education Policy Center, Commercialism in Education Research Unit (CERU)
Posted on January 8, 2014

“Big Ten” Conference TV Revenues

The “Big Ten Conference” is the oldest Division I college athletic conference in the United States. It has twelve member institutions, despite its name, and is slated to add two more in 2014. These are flagship research universities in their respective states, well-regarded academically and with relatively large student enrollment. They are located primarily in the Midwest.

In the Big Ten conference, revenue from television contracts helps to cover the cost of coaches salaries, scholarships, travel and game-day expenses. TV revenue also helps to cover the cost of athletic programs that do not bring in sufficient revenues to sustain themselves, such as tennis, gymnastics and rowing.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association requires athletic programs to maintain at least 16 varsity sports. The Big Ten conference requires 20. According to Sports Illustrated, the expansion of the Big Ten conference to 14 schools in the 2014-2015 school year will help to nearly double the per-school television contract revenue by 2017-2018. The data shown are on a per-school basis.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2012-2013 and 2017-2018
Market size: $25 million and $40 million, respectively, per school
Source: Editorial Staff, “MSU Athletics Win Off The Field, Too,” Lansing State Journal, July 14, 2013, page 7F and Chris Solari, “Power Play,” Lansing State Journal, July 14, 2013, pages 1D, 5D.
Original source: Sports Illustrated
Posted on July 16, 2013

High School Volleyball

Today’s market size is the number of high school students participating in volleyball in the United States during the academic year, 2011-2012. In that school year, participation in high school volleyball was dominated by women. Of all the sports in which both males and females compete at the high school level, volleyball was the one in which female participation totally dominated the statistics. Young women make up 89.5% of high school volleyball players. The source document, linked to below, provides participation data on all the major sports programs in U.S. high schools.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2011-2012
Market size: 468,370
Source: “2011-2012 High School Athletics Participation Survey,” August 2012, available online here.
Original Source: National Federation of State High School Associations
Posted on June 18, 2013

High School Wrestlers

Our attention was caught last week by the announcement from the International Olympic Committee that it had recommended the elimination of wrestling from the Olympic Games starting in 2020. Their decision will not be ratified until later this year so one can expect to see wrestling fans around the world gathering their resources to defend the sport and its inclusion in the Olympic Games after the games of 2016. After all, wrestling was one of the original sports in the ancient games, has been in the modern games since they were reestablished in 1896 and wrestling is a recognized sport in 180 countries.

Today’s market size is the number of high school students participating in wrestling in the United States during the academic year, 2010-2011. In that school year, wrestling was the 6th most popular sport for high school males. The source document, linked to below, provides data on high school participation in all major sports programs.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2010-2011
Market size: 280,384
Source: “2011-2012 High School Athletics Participation Survey,” August 2012, available online here.
Original source: National Federation of State High School Associations
Posted on February 19, 2013

College Enrollment

While we at ECDI don’t really see education as a market-driven endeavor, there is no question that educational services are an important part of the U.S. economy. Public expenditures on education account for between 5% and 6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually, as measured in value added. Educational services in the private sector account for another 1% to 1.5% of GDP. Today we look at enrollment in post-secondary educational institutions of all sorts in the United States as our market.

Several interesting details about 2011 college enrollment in the United States are these: of the total enrolled, more than half were females (55.2% versus 44.8%); most were full-time (73%); most were enrolled in public institutions (79%), and slightly more than half of the students were employed, either part-time (27.5%) or full-time (25.7%). For anyone interested in more details about this “market,” the source from which we obtained today’s market size—link provided below—offers a very detailed breakdown of college enrollment in the United States, by demographic characteristics as well as by type of institution and by years in school.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2011
Market size: 20.4 million
Source: “Table 5. Type of College and Year Enrolled for College Students 15 Years Old and Over, by Age, Sex, Race, Attendance Status, Control of School, Disability Status, and Enrollment Status: October 2011,” part of the Current Population Survey series produced and made available to us all by the U.S. Census Bureau on their website here.
Original source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau.
Posted on November 30, 2012


Waldkindergartens, or forest kindergartens, are outdoor schools for three to five year olds. As the name implies, the classes are held in forests. Although these types of schools became popular in Europe in the 1950s and 1960s, the idea of outdoor classrooms began in the 1800s when Friedrich Froebel, a German educator and former forest intern, introduced the concept of kindergartens, or children’s gardens. When working with young children, he would teach them in garden settings or in the countryside. Later other educators expanded on his idea with a play-based curriculum.

In the United States, kindergartens are teacher-directed indoor classrooms; however, in the mid-2000s after the book Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv, was published there was a renewed interest in getting children outdoors for play and for education. While waldkindergartens are rare in the United States currently, the few programs that are in existence have waiting lists of students wanting to be part of the program. Are these programs beneficial? A study in Europe found that children who went through the waldkindergarten program had more self-confidence, a greater sense of independence, stamina, coordination, motivation and concentration. Some parents in the United States report that their children have better problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Data show the approximate number of waldkindergartens in Germany.

Geographic reference: Germany
Year: 2012
Market Size: 450 schools
Source: Ruth A. Wilson, “Teaching Among the Trees,” American Forests, Winter 2012, pages 42-43
Posted on March 6, 2012

“e-Learning” Hardware and Software

The use of computers and other technological devices in the classroom has long been a source of debate among educators. Equipping schools with the most cutting edge technology is costly and the benefits of these expenditures in actually teaching students is not always evident. Nonetheless, in a world in which computers are ubiquitous the desire to have our children use modern technology with confidence helps to drive growth in the market for “e-learning” devices and software.

Today’s market size is a forecast of the value of the e-learning sub-sector of “the global education market” in the year 2015.

Geographic reference: World
Year: Forecast for 2015
Market size: $69 Billion
Source: “Brave New World: The Changing Landscape of Education and Technology,” April 2010, a report posted online by the firm Spire Research & Consulting and available here.
Original source: Marijk van der Wende, “The Role of US Higher Education in the Global E-Learning Market,” Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS), Research & Occasional Paper Series, University of California, Berkeley, 2002
Posted on September 14, 2011

Educational Services

The educational services covered in today’s market size post are all those not part of the traditional school system—elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities. Think instead of all the other training and educational services that people may need. This market includes all those teaching and training people who wish to learn a new language; learn how to drive; learn how to cut and style hair; learn how to fix cars, leaky pipes, and/or computers; and learn how to be a better nanny, manager, secretary, etc.

This market size is based on estimated annual revenues.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2009
Market size: $42.9 million
Source: “Table 12.1. Educational Services (NAICS 61) – Estimated Revenue for Employer Firms: 2009,” 2009 Service Annual Survey, February 2011, available online here.
Original source: U.S. Census Bureau

Market for Art Instruction

The market for fine arts instruction has grown quite substantially over the last decade or so. In 1997 there were 1,009 establishments in the United States engaged primarily in offering instruction in the fine arts. By 2007 that number had risen to 11,478. The Census Bureau’s definition of this industry is as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in offering instruction in the arts, including dance, art, drama, and music.”

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 1997 and 2007
Market size: $388.5 million and $3.25 billion respectively
Source: “2007 Economic Census: Sector 61: Educational Services: Industrial Series: Preliminary Comparative Statistics for the United States 2007 and 2002,” July 31, 2009, available online here. The data for 1997 were taken from the “1997 Economic Census.”
Original source: U.S. Bureau of the Census

Computer Training Centers

The number of educational service providing establishments in the United States grew by 20% between 2002 and 2007, from 49,319 establishments to 61,385. However, the number of establishments dedicated to doing computer training—from how to use computers to networking and programming them—actually fell during the period. While this may have been explained by there having been a consolidation within the sector, fewer but larger establsihments, it turns out that was not the case. Employment within this particular sector of educational services—computer training—also fell, from 29.3 thousand to 17.4 thousand.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2002 and 2007
Market size: 2,988 and 2,211 establishments respectively
Source: “2007 Economic Census: Sector 61: Educational Services,” June 29, 2010, available online here.
Original source: U.S. Bureau of the Census

Institutes of Higher Education

This market size measures the number of degree-granting institutes of higher education. The enrollment figure excludes students taking classes by mail, radio or TV as well as students attending branches of U.S. institutions operated outside the United States.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2006
Market size: 4,352 institutions enrolling 17.76 million students
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 271, December 2009 available online here.
Original Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census and the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics