Perspectives on Educational Management Organizations

Published In: Handbook of Research On School Choice / Edited By M. Berends, M. G. Springer, D. Ballou, H. J. Walberg (New York : Routledge, 2009), p. 555-568

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2009

by Brian Gill, Laura S. Hamilton, Ron Zimmer

One of the reforms characterizing public education in the United States over the past two decades has been the creation and growth of for-profit and nonprofit Education Management Organizations (EMOs) that operate schools under contract. This chapter examines the history and role of EMOs in the United States, focusing on two prominent cases: Edison Schools, the largest EMO the country has seen; and Philadelphia, which became the site of the nation's largest experiment in private management of public schools in the wake of a state takeover of the district in 2002. The chapter presents summarizes of research on student achievement in Philadelphia's EMO schools and Edison's schools, and discusses key finding on the operational characteristics of Edison schools. It concludes with a discussion of the implications of the research and of the need for new research to address gaps in what is known about the operations and effectiveness of EMOs.

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