Matt Yglesias has a post up looking at the PISA scores, and he seems to imply that for-profit schooling has been tried and found wanting in Sweden and the U.S.:
The big difference is that many Swedish charters are run by for-profit firms. We’ve had some experiments with that in the U.S. and it hasn’t worked very well. Nobody’s really found a great way of making consistent profits running K-12 schools in America.
Of course even he notes that Sweden’s schools are highly regulated by the state.
And in the U.S., the difficulty of succeeding in for-profit education just might have something to do with that government monopoly on k-12 education and the $560 billion or so in tax revenues that fund it. Maybe.