Research in Private Enterprise

Charter Schools

4. Education Management Organizations: Growing a For-Profit Education Industry
Hentschke, Guilbert, Oschman, Scot and Snell, Lisa. (2009). Education Management Organizations: Growing a For-profit Education Industry with Choice, Competition, and Innovation. Reason Public Policy Institute.

This paper explains the purpose, political context, and barriers to growth for Education Management Organizations (EMOs), for-profit whole-school operators who contract with public school agencies. EMO growth has paralleled the growth in non-profit charter operators, but they have encountered fears that public resources will be diverted to profits and away from educational services. The authors frame EMO growth as a natural continuation of major educational trends: special education outsourcing, growth in accountability, the school choice movement, school outsourcing, and charter school growth. They argue that EMOs bring unique organizational capabilities that can complement (rather than usurp) traditional school districts or non-profit charters. They conclude with best practices for EMO/District contracts and a selected list of EMOs. To read more......


Charter Schools

3. Ranking State Charter School Laws
Ziebarth, Todd. (2012). Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter School Laws. National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

This research from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) presents a detailed ranking and summary of state charter school laws across the country. NAPCS’s definition of model charter school legislation includes allowing educational services providers, whether for-profit or non-profit, a variety of charter school models, performance based contracts, and equitable access to operational and capital funding. Maine, Minnesota and Florida are at the top of the rankings, while Alaska, Maryland and Mississippi are at the bottom. States with no charter school legislation were not included in the ranking. To read more......


Charter Schools

2. Going Exponential: Growing the Charter School Sector’s Best
Hassel, Emily Ayscue, Hassel, Bryan, and Ableidinger, Joe. (2011). Going Exponential: Growing the Charter School Sector’s Best. Progressive Policy Institute

This paper, whose advice can apply to either non-profit or for-profit charter school operators, describes best practices for charter school operators to grow to scale while maintaining high quality performance. Policy barriers to growth for successful charter schools include state regulations such as charter caps, funding gaps, and facilities scarcity. Sector barriers include limited instructional innovation and the proliferation of mediocre charters. The authors encourage charter managers to aim for exponential growth seen in well-run firms outside of education. Examples of strategies that enable growth include negotiating performance based charter contracts, importing top managers from other sectors, and investing in operational systems that can grow with your organization.  To read more......


Charter Schools

1. Philadelphia: Private Partners in Public Education
Medwick, Allan and Greenberg, Erica. (2004). Philadelphia: Private Partners in Public Education. Presented at the Innovations in Education Conference.

The paper describes the many public-private partnerships the School District of Philadelphia has formed as part of its school reform efforts, and makes recommendations for policy and school leaders to learn from the Philadelphia partnerships. At that time, the School District of Philadelphia had partnerships with six education management organizations, and many non-management partnerships. The Philadelphia school reform plan believes that diverse providers are an important component of school reform, and thus the District contracted with many for-profit and non-profit school management organizations, whose diverse methods are profiled. Recommended best practices for public-private school partnerships include holistic thinking, strategic planning, establishing formal processes for forming partnerships, committing to accountability and quality, and more. To read more.....



1.  Assessing the Effectiveness of SES and Title I School Choice
RAND. (2007). State and Local Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act: Volume I – Title I School Choice, Supplemental Educational Services and Student Achievement. Prepared for the U.S. Department of Education.

This report presents results from the National Longitudinal Study of No Child Left Behind (NLS-NCLB), focusing of the effects of Title I school choice and supplemental educational services (SES) on student achievement. In nine large urban school districts, elementary school students and African American students had the highest rates of participation in both programs. The authors find that SES had a significant positive effect on participating students’ achievement in reading and math, and that multiple years of participation increased achievement gains. In contrast, researchers did not find any statistically significant achievement impact among Title I school choice participants, however, the sample size of participating students was considerably smaller. The report concludes that while both programs are reaching their target populations, there is more evidence supporting positive effects of SES. The authors caution readers that the study was not nationally representative and that the sample size was too small to draw firm conclusions.  To read more....