Education management organization Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_management_organization

An education management organization (EMO) is a term of art describing a for-profit entity that manages schools. It provides a distinction from charter management organization which is a non-profit manager of charter schools. The terms are often used interchangeably, with resulting confusion.

Other and older usages of the term describe an organization that develops and distributes school curricula. These organizations in the United States provide the curricula for public schools, charter schools, virtual schools, and homeschooling parents.[1]


In 1991, Minnesota enacted legislation that enabled charter schools. Other states followed.

The state or its delegate issues a charter to a school. In most states, the charter-holder has the privileges and responsibilities of a school board, but not the taxing authority. Many states have adopted laws that require that the holder of the school charter be a non-profit organization. As a result, the most common form of a charter management organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The charter holder may contract all aspects of school operation to an education management organization. The EMO accepts the full amount of state subsidy per student. If it can operate at a lower cost, the difference is profit for the EMO. The school may advertise that it is a non-profit, which it is, even if there is a for-profit entity operating in the background.

For-profit EMOs[edit]

Wisconsin, California, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Arizona allow for-profit corporations to manage charter schools.[2]

Examples include:

Vendor operated school[edit]

In some cases a school's charter is held by a non-profit that chooses to contract all of the school's operations to a third party, often a for-profit CMO. This arrangement is defined as a vendor-operated school, (VOS).[3]

Distinction from charter management organization[edit]

One authority on schools, Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes makes no distinction between terms. In its recent reports it describes CMO -- non-profit and CMO -- for-profit.[3]: 2 

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools makes a clear distinction. CMOs are non-profit; EMOs are for-profit.[4]


  1. ^ Hentschke, Guilbert C (February 2003). "Trends & Best Practices for Education Management Organizations" (PDF). West Policy Perspectives. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  2. ^ Huseman, Jessica (December 17, 2015). "These Charter Schools Tried to Turn Public Education Into Big Business. They Failed". Slate. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b Woodworth, James L (2017). "Charter Management Organizations 2017" (PDF). Center for Research on Education Outcomes. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 January 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  4. ^ "CMO and EMO Public Charter Schools: A Growing Phenomenon in the Charter School Sector" (PDF). National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Retrieved 26 January 2018.