More investors may be fawning over education companies, yet among educators themselves, entrepreneurs don’t always get the warmest welcome.

It may be because they’ve watched for-profit universities and K-12 operators report mixed results and cause considerable debate. Or because, in the technology world, they’ve seen companies pivot to new products, making schools feel like they’ve been left in the lurch.  As education historian Diane Ravitch has said, even though companies may offer valuable products, she doubts their quality because “the bottom line is that they’re seeking profit first.”

As more ed tech companies win over schools and more teacher-led startups emerge, it seems that distrust is fading. But some education companies are hoping that a new legal status, called the “benefit corporation” — which provides protection for for-profit companies that pursue social-responsibility initiatives at the expense of financial gains — could help them overcome remaining skepticism.


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