It may be an International educator’s automatic response that a non-profit school is a better career choice than one classified as for-profit. Does teaching at a non-profit assure a better overall experience? What happens when for-profits masquerade as non-profits? Deciding which type of school is best for YOU may prove things are not always what they seem.
Let’s define terms: A non-profit organization is defined as an entity that exists for charitable purposes, usually a group based on a common interest. Embassy parents, creating a school for the sole purpose of providing an education for their expat children, falls into this category. After salaries and expenses are paid, all remaining monies go back into the school. In most countries these entities do not pay taxes. Creating an overseas school with a tax home in the US, for example, would qualify for tax exemption. Non-profits are often seen as the ‘good guys.’
For-profit organizations are classified as being operated with the goal of showing a profit. They serve their customers by selling a product or service. The owner earns an income from the profits and may also pay shareholder investors from these profits. These entities are not tax exempt.
On the surface, the difference between a for-profit and a non-profit school appears to boil down to shareholders pocketing the money a non-profit would otherwise invest into bettering the school.
A close look, however, reveals a blurred line between for-profit and non-profit schools. Non-profits with a tax base in the US are required to make their tax returns public, for example. A review of these documents often reveals huge salaries and/or bonuses paid to owners, directors, principals, advisors, board members, and other ‘positions’ easily assigned (at least on paper) to family members or investors. No money is left over to better a school ‘masquerading’ as a non-profit, and there may also be no interest in developing the professional/personal interests of its hired staff.
On the other hand, many for-profit schools, operated by owners with a community consciousness, clearly outshine some non-profits. Many such school owners are not only satisfied to make a fair profit, but also glean satisfaction and pride from offering a top quality educational product to parents and students. They include fair salaries and benefits packages for teachers. ISR hosts Reviews of such school.
There’s more to a name than vernacular would have you believe. Don’t be misled by titles. As always, ISR encourages you to Research, Research, Research!
ISR asks: What has YOUR experience been with both for-profit and non-profit schools?
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